By Braulio Giron, Jr. on May 7, 2019
Despite persisting economic and political challenges, among others, the Philippines remains a top start-up destination in Southeast Asia, with some companies continuing to show how promising the country is for founders, investors, and professionals
Hot on the heels of Asian tech startup hubs like Singapore and Indonesia, the Philippines continues to foster a considerably startup friendly ecosystem. Its large consumer base and immense mobile penetration - combined with an English-speaking population most credited with the growth of the local BPO industry – continues to make the country ideal for startups who want to launch in a market that is relatively untapped because its digital infrastructure has yet to be fully realized.
Among the most successful have been startups who’ve acted on their original ideas and, despite the unfamiliarity of the market to what they offer, have gone on to change the way business, learning, and/or work is done in the Philippines. The following are some of these companies who continue to strive to offer something new to the local market, and have also expanded their reach to include parts of the population that have had little or no previous access to the types of products, services, and career opportunities they provide.
A financial services platform offering person-to-person wallet transfers, bill payments, mobile top-ups, online shopping, and remittance services by way of bitcoins and blockchain technology, Coins.ph was launched in and effort to help the estimated over 70% of the Philippine population have sufficient access to mainstream financial banking services which they previously did not have.
Established in 2014, Coins.ph is comparatively younger than other notable startups in the country, but has seen a rapid growth since. At the start of 2019, Indonesia’s largest on-demand multi-service platform, Go-Jek, made a “substantial” acquisition of Coins.ph’s shares to support the latter’s continued expansion and support financial inclusion and digitalization.
An online platform featuring college application services and a comprehensive database of over 14,000 colleges, 80,000 courses, and 4,000 scholarships from local and foreign institutions, Edukasyon.ph provides career guidance online aimed to help students find pathways which they can take in reaching their academic goals. In April 2019, Edukasyon.ph announced its acquisition of fellow Philippines-based FindUniversity, an online academic program directory.
The educational technology startup widely recognized as a Filipino youth platform had also recently entered into a year-long partnership with multinational tech giant Asus for the “Share Campaign”, a collaboration between the two companies centered on encouraging Gen Z students, or those born between 1996 and 2010, to improve the skill sets that they currently have to best succeed in their educational and career goals.
A financial technology startup partnership between Globe Telecom, the Ayala Corporation, and Jack Ma-owned Ant Financial, Mynt continues to make strides in its mission to provide secure, accessible, and convenient fintech solutions to individuals, businesses, and organizations. Under the Mynt banner, otherwise known as Globe Fintech Innovations Inc., are Fuse Lending, the startups’ loan product arm, and G-Cash, the popular mobile money solutions provider most recognized as part of Globe.
In early May of 2019, the company announced that the number of merchants using the QR payment solution breached the 50,000 mark in the first quarter, as G-Cash moved into lifestyle payments such as movie tickets and grew its active user base five times to 20 million users.
A cloud based enterprise solution built primarily for mobile, Squadzip is “designed to help businesses manage sales, and customer data better, without the usual headaches and training requirements associated with enterprise software.” A mobile-first SaaS platform targeting frontline employees (sales, customer service etc.), Squadzip is notable for having the trimmings—likes, comments, profile pages—and ease of use of a social media site.
Established in 2014, Squadzip was the first company in the Philippines invested on by Silicon Valley-based global accelerator Plug and Play Tech Center, who funded the company just two years into its existence in 2016, in partnership with Kickstart Ventures, the wholly owned subsidiary venture capital firm of Globe Telecommunications.
An artificial-intelligence-based, on-demand mobile platform that offers smart healthcare services to clients in the Philippines, Zennya aims to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for the general population by leveraging user algorithms that are analyzed by the Zennya AI to produce accurate medical diagnosis.
Based in Makati, Zennya chooses and employs therapists who are certified by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). With or without experience, Zennya employees are offered initial training which includes practical and theoretical training which. match international best practice standards.
Kalibrr is a technology company that aims to transform how candidates find jobs and how companies hire talent. Placing the candidate experience at the center of everything it does, the company continues to attract the best talent from all over, with more than 2 million professionals and counting. Kalibrr ultimately connects these talents to companies in search of their next generation of leaders.
The only end-to-end recruitment solutions provider in Southeast Asia, Kalibrr is headquartered in Makati, Philippines, with offices in San Francisco, California and Jakarta, Indonesia. Established in 2012, it has served over 18,000 clients, and is backed by some of the world’s most powerful start-up incubators and venture capitalists. These include Y Combinator, Omidyar Network, Patamar Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Kickstart Ventures.