The Four Filipino Startups That Landed on Forbes Asia's First '100 to Watch' List


Forbes is best known for its definitive lists of the biggest, most profitable, and most innovative conglomerates, but this year, Forbes Asia decided to put the spotlight on the small companies and startups making headlines in the Asia-Pacific region. In line with the growing movement to empower the small and medium-sized businesses during this pandemic-stricken year, Forbes Asia featured up-and-coming companies in its inaugural 100 to Watch list, and four Filipino startups were lucky enough to make the cut.

The startups and small companies that passed Forbes Asia’s rigorous screening process were: PayMongo, Kalibrr, CloudEats, and ChatGenie. The companies were all judged to have made a “positive impact on the region or industry, a track record of strong revenue growth or ability to attract funding, promising business models or markets, and a persuasive story,” based on Forbes’ metrics.

Here are the only four Filipino startups and small companies that made the Forbes list.

1| ChatGenie


Founded just a month before Metro Manila went into its first lockdown, ChatGenie proved itself an essential online tool when movement was restricted nationwide. The e-commerce platform is designed to help small companies set up online shops and restaurants on Facebook Messenger and help these shops sell goods, accept payments, and deliver their products.

2| CloudEats

Cloud kitchens became a lifeline for restaurant brands during the pandemic, and CloudEats has so far helped over 60 restaurant brands through its ghost kitchen setup. A cloud kitchen allows restaurant brands to save costs by cutting front-of-the-house operations to focus instead on food delivery. Founded in 2019, it was one of the first Filipino startups to catch onto the cloud kitchen craze.

3| Kalibrr

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Many young jobseekers are already very familiar with Kalibrr, which prides itself as being an AI-powered recruitment company that was the first Filipino company to be accepted by Silicon Valley’s Y Combinator. Kalibrr serves over five million jobseekers in the Philippines and Indonesia and counts Kickstart Ventures, Omidyar Network, and Wavemaker as its investors.

4| PayMongo

One of the most successful homegrown fintech startups is PayMongo, which recently launched its own accelerator program to support local startups. The program was modeled after the accelerator program of Y Combinator, one of the company's backers. PayMongo is a digital payment platform with a market geared toward local merchants. It ha so far served around 7,000 MSMEs since its founding in 2019.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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