5 startups to affect your lives in 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The digital economy is rapidly changing Filipinos' lives. It has revolutionized everything from the the way people consume media to the way people communicate.
It has even affected things once considered immune to so-called tech disruption as the Department of Transportation and Communications' (DOTC) new Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) category has proven.
While the major tech players – Facebook, Google, and Microsoft – continue to provide platforms and services that have come central to our lives, it is the smaller players, the startups, which are the fastest and often most innovative at figuring how to make our lives that much more convenient.
The startups’ small size and lack of financial muscle means that innovation is a key ingredient in their offerings.
Locally, the startup scene is more robust than ever as highlighted this year with their own special sections in the biggest economic event of 2015, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit held in Manila in November.
The future of the local system is also looking brighter than ever, with more and more Filipinos getting access to smartphones and getting connected.
The problem with this rapid growth is that scores of startups are created everyday, making it difficult to pick out the ones that will endure and matter to consumers. Put another way, it is becoming harder and harder for us to pick out the ones that we should sign up for or set aside precious space for on their smartphones.
To get a better picture, Rappler spoke to a number of tech leaders and technopreneurs to get their consensus on which startup’s products and services (in alphabetical order) will once again change our lives in the new year.
Looking for a new job this year? Online assessment platform and job matching service Kalibrr might be the easiest and most convenient way to do so.
Kalibrr made waves in 2015, notably inking a deal with the government to provide job matching services for 10 national agencies and the Philippine tech community is in agreement that Kalibrr will continue its strong momentum this year.
It will significantly change the way that jobseekers and organizations find jobs, especially when hiring at scale, said Minette Navarette, president of Globe Telecom incubator, Kickstart Ventures.
Looking at the macro picture, quite a bit of the Philippines' economic growth is linked to corporations growing, and more employment opportunities, with jobs needing more complex skills that might not be captured adequately in basic resumé-based listings that traditional job listing sites provide, she explained.
Was one of your resolutions this year to get in shape or are you looking for a way to work off the excess pounds gained over the holidays?
KFIT can help by offering access to hundreds of gyms, fitness studios, and activities throughout Metro Manila, allowing you to try a new location every day. Signing up for its monthly membership allows you to access participating gyms as well as hundreds of different activities, from yoga to capoeira and some new fitness exercises you have probably never heard about.
The service is now available in 10 cities across the metropolis and is growing fast.
Sam Kaddourra, chief financial officer at bitcoin firm SCI Satoshi Citadel Industries and a recent convert to KFIT, said that it is a great way to try out new fitness activates to eventually find out which one you suits you without having to sign up for multiple memberships.
“In today’s economy, where schedules are increasingly moving away from the traditional 9-5s, it also has the happy benefit of tailoring your fitness time to your schedule,” Kaddourra said.
Do you need some quick cash? In the digital age, PawnHero might be your best bet.
PawnHero turns any Internet connected mobile phone into a pawn shop. With lower interest rates, higher appraisal values, and a much lower cost structure compared to traditional pawn shops, no physical store means no rent for instance, PawnHero is poised to break out in 2016.
PawnHero is registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and received its license to operate from the central bank on January 23, 2015. Like regular pawnshops, it will be under regulation and supervision of BSP as well.
If you already have a job, Storm Benefits can make the benefits you earn at your current firm match the lifestyle you want.
Storm Benefits works with Human Resources departments to allow their employees to convert their benefits into tangible items and services, anything from points toward a new smartphone or vacation trips. This allows every employee to have unlimited options when designing the benefits that work for them.
Storm Benefits already has a growing list of partnerships with some of the country’s biggest firms. So, want your hard earned labor to get you to Boracay? Ask your employer to contact Storm Benefits.
How about earning benefits just for loyalty to a restaurant or a store?
ZAP is a service that allows you to earn points based on what you spend at participating merchants. It has been steadily growing its retailer partnerships as well as its customer base without fanfare, and the value of the transactions run through ZAP has continued to increase in double-digit percentage growth rates.
There are many retail-related apps with a loyalty element in the Philippines, but we believe that ZAP will break out in 2016, Navarette said.
And while these are what some in the tech community think are most likely to make an impact this year, the reality is that with the amount of new ideas being generated and executed every day, this year's game changers could be ones no one has ever heard of yet.
The good news is that with most startups aiming to solve problems in new ways, this year will inevitably be more convenient, and more innovative, than the last. – Rappler.com
2016 rocket image from Shutterstock