The Philippines

Notable Startups

Xurpas

Vietnam’s VNG corporation is what Xurpas is to The Philippines, aiming to “build the mobile future” through its portfolio of businesses. Founded in 2001, it started as a content provider to telecommunications operators and has now grown into the largest consumer technology company in the Philippines. It listed on the stock exchange in 2014, the first Filipino tech company to do so. With a market capitalisation of 30 billion PhP, it is also the largest listed consumer technology company in South East Asia.

Xurpas describes its primary business as the “creation and development of consumer content and services for delivery to its client telecommunications operators and distribution to the latter’s mobile phone subscribers”. The companies in the Xurpas portfolio range from mobile casual games to systems architecture.

Yondu is a software and IT services company under the Xurpas name offering products and services that improve the efficiency of small businesses. Another notable name in the Xurpas group is Seer – a software consultancy, design and development company specialising in mobile, cloud and data technology. Xeleb focuses on content creation particularly celebrity branded and themed mobile games. Their games involve the country’s biggest stars like Anne Curtis-Smith, Alejandro “Kuya Kim” Atienza and Sarah Geronimo. It is no surprise that Xeleb’s products are among the fastest-growing mobile consumer products in the Xurpas group.

Mynt

Another pressing social issue of our time is that of financial inclusion. The World Bank defines this as the ability for “individuals and businesses to have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs…delivered in a responsible and sustainable way”. Filipino Fintech company Mynt aims to

“Address financial inclusion through mobile money, micro-loans and technology”.

Its five areas of focus are payments, remittance, business solutions, platforms and loans. Mynt has two companies under its name, GCash and Fuse Lending. GCash is a micropayment service used to make cashless payments, conduct money transfers and so on. Fuse Lending provides personal and business loans to “unbanked and underserved” Filipinos through “technology, alternative data and innovative credit scoring methods”.

Mynt is wholly owned by Globe Telecom but in February 2017, it announced a partnership with Ant Financial Services Group – the parent company of Alipay owned by Jack Ma. This investment, the group’s first venture into the Philippines, was partially motivated by the synergies between Alipay and GCash.

Kalibrr

Kalibrr is the Philippines’ solution to the ‘skills gap’ that permeates across markets around the world. There is a widening mismatch between the demand of employers and the job skills supplied by the workforce. Kalibrr, “South East Asia’s fastest growing talent marketplace” aims to bridge this gap. Its services are recruitment systems, employer branding, online assessments, a jobs portal. According to communications associate Skye Male, all of this boils down to Kalibrr’s 2 core functions:

1. Assessing a users’ eligibility for a job
2. Training users on job-specific competencies and skills

Within a year, Kalibrr closed US$2 million in first round funding from Y Combinator, a Silicon Valley-based VC. By 2015, Kalibrr had onboard 2,900 companies and over 60,000 job-seekers onto the platform. Even the government agencies have shown interest – 13 have signed partnerships with Kalibrr. These include the Department of Education, Department of Finance-Bureau of Local Government Finance, the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Public-Private Partnership Centre of the Philippines.