Many Filipino Startups Talk About Expanding Internationally. This One Now Has Offices Outside Manila

Data science startup Thinking Machines just opened a new office in Thailand.

The big goal of many Filipino startups, besides scoring significant funding from venture capitalists and investors, is to eventually expand their businesses outside of the Philippines. It’s a long hard journey to be able to prove the viability and sustainability of the business enough to try and replicate it in other markets, especially across the region. But this one company is doing just that. 

Thinking Machines is a data science and analytics startup founded by Filipino entrepreneur Stephanie Sy in 2015. It uses big data and artificial intelligence to help clients solve complex problems and make informed decisions.

Thinking Machines founder and CEO Stephanie Sy

Photo by Stephanie Sy /

Thinking Machines has a stellar list of clients that includes governments, NGOs, and private companies. just a few examples: the World Bank, UNICEF, the Metro Manila Development Authority, Filinvest Development Corp., and Ayala Corp. It already has offices in Manila and Singapore, and, recently, the company announced that it has opened a third office in Bangkok, Thailand.


In a blog post on its website, Thinking Machines said its Thailand office, headed by country manager Mook Promphorn Chaichirawiwat, has already begun forming partnerships with some of that country’s conglomerates, including its leading oil and gas company. The company intends to be develop artificial intelligence products for Thai organizations, based on the core geospatial AI and document AI technologies.

“There are amazing opportunities to supercharge data transformation journeys in Bangkok,” Sy said. “We’re looking forward to developing our suite of machine learning products in an exciting new market.”

As part of its launch, Thinking Machines Thailand is offering a limited number of free workshops on data science and business to Thai companies. The workshops are meant to teach the IT, innovation, and business teams of these companies “to leverage data science to solve problems and create real business impact.”

Photo by website / Thinking Machines.

A graduate of management science and engineering from Stanford University, Sy worked for a while at Google in California before deciding to come back home to the Philippines to start Thinking Machines. In 2018, she was selected to be part of Forbes prestigious 30 Under 30 List. She is also part of the Asia Society Young Leaders Class of 2019.

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According to Statista, the global big data and business analytics market was valued at $168.8 billion in 2018 and is forecast to grow to $274.3 billion by 2022. Its five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is at 13.2 percent. Demand for data scientists and analysts is also exploding, with one study by Glassdoor in 2019 saying that data scientist was the number one job in the U.S. over the last four years.

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Paul John Caña
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