By Braulio Giron, Jr. on August 14, 2019
Tech start-ups in the country present a unique opportunity, as a successful company scaling up often means a similar growth in the careers of those behind it
As Millenials, or those born between 1980 to 1999 (depending on who you ask), proceed to account for an estimated 75% of the world’s working population by 2025, their insistence to question the traditional way of doing business has made start-up companies the new norm. At home in the midst of the accelerated rate of change, replacement, and innovation of technology, millenials not only follow disruptive innovation, they also demand it, and lead it.
And lead they have. According to the 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER), the global startup economy generated $2.8 trillion in economic value in the last two years, with nearly 50 regions worldwide creating at least $4 billion each in ecosystem value.
The Philippines has been among those to gradually fostering a tech startup ecosystem. With its large consumer base, high mobile penetration, and significant potential for digitization in untapped resources – combined with a largely English-speaking population and cost-effective technical, marketing, and back-office support – the country is ideal for startup companies who want to develop business models in an economy with a digital infrastructure that is still in its infancy.
This had not been lost on the following start-ups, who notably continue to disrupt their respective industries by using digital technology to scale their business, reach new audiences, influence customer preference, and push traditional players to reassess their brands and keep up with the fast pace of the digital space. As these companies grew, so have the careers of the people behind them, a consideration you may want to make as you consider new job opportunities.
Positioning itself as the pioneer of chatbot development and messaging artificial intelligence in the Philippines, ChatbotPH is a chatbot development and execution team that develops, maintains and trains bots for Filipino SMEs.
Last September 2018, ChatbotPH launched BotMarketPH, a marketplace for ready-to-use chatbot templates which lets businesses build and deploy their very own chatbot without the need to code. In March of this year, the company was acquired Sterling Paper Group of Companies (SPGC), a conglomerate known for its paper products.
Beyond developing chatbots, ChatbotPH also holds regular AI training, and research and development for their clients who are mostly in the lifestyle, banking, and retail industries.
Coins.ph, founded by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ron Hose in 2014, is a blockchain-based mobile payments startup. Operating under its corporate name Betur Inc., the company offers financial services such as remittances, mobile wallet and bills payment among others. It is also licensed by the central bank as a virtual currency exchange.
In the beginning of 2019, a majority stake in Coins.ph was sold to Indonesian ride-hailing giant, Go-Jek. More recently, the company partnered with UnionBank of the Philippines, to launch the country’s first bank-operated and two-way virtual currency automated teller machine located in the lender’s digital branch The ARK in Makati City.
In April, Coins.ph also announced its partnership with remittance firm Western Union which enables the over five million Coins.ph wallet holders to receive funds from the remittance firm.
Edukasyon.ph is an online education tech company that seeks to improve access to education and employment by helping students to make informed education decisions that lead to full employability post-graduation by way of a one-stop platform offering opportunities and advice on education, scholarships, career, and life decisions.
In April 2019, Edukasyon.ph announced its acquisition of FindUniversity, an online academic program directory also based in the Philippines. The acquisition led to the latter’s 20,000 academic programs from over 900 institutions being added to the former’s catalog of 20,000 courses from 13,000 schools and 500 institutions.
Edukasyon.ph has also partnered with a multinational tech-giant Asus for the “Share Campaign”, a series of offline and online initiatives designed to encourage students from different schools to improve and expand their skill sets.
First Circle is a digital lender that helps Philippine small and medium enterprises that was established in 2016 by Irish co-founders Patrick Lynch and Tony Ennis to help fill the financing gap for local SMEs.
The company is the official Finance Partner of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as well as a pioneer data provider to the Credit Information Corporation (CIC). First Circle is also among the very first FinTech companies to ever be licensed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Philippines. First Circle’s partnership with the DTI has not only allowed it to expand its digital lending platform, but also made P1.5 billion in fresh funding for SMEs available nationwide.
Last year, the company successfully raised an estimated $26 million worth of funding, as it began embarking on expansion outside the Philippines, with markets in the Southeast Asian region as the initial locations.
FlySpaces serves as the leading short-term workspace booking platform in Southeast Asia. Considering itself a company that is proudly Filipino, the “airbnb for offices” continues to demonstrate the viability of the country as a location where start-ups can grow and thrive.
In 2016, it acquired Malaysian competitor 8Spaces. More recently, it had acquired Hong Kong-based Quikspaces. The deal gave FlySpaces 1,200 additional office listings to its marketplace. The platform allows customers to search, book and pay for over 3,000 office listings in Southeast Asia online.
The company offers flexible office spaces in Singapore, Manila, Cebu, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Jakarta, and Macau. It continues to develop its suite of tools for office space operators to better manage all aspects of their co-working business, from space management to end-to-end booking software.
STORM Technologies is a firm with a platform that lets employers and employees maximise their benefits and incentives through technology. It offers STORM Flex, its patented, online benefits administration system that allows employees to convert benefits to points that they can use in a marketplace.
Last year, the company represented the Philippines in the Startup World Cup 2018, after it had won in a regional competition at Slingshot ASEAN: Startup and Innovation Summit. STORM was also one of two companies in the Philippines that were finalists in The MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge, the flagship program of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy.
The HR tech firm now serves over 100,000 employees from top companies across diverse industries, including business process outsourcing, insurance, consumer goods, and manufacturing.
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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.