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Rappler in Forbes Philippines' list of top tech startups

MANILA, Philippines – Two e-commerce shops, a listed mobile technology provider, and a social news network are among the Forbes Philippines' list of leading startups by gross revenue.

In its May 2016 issue, Forbes Philippines ranked the country’s well-known Internet businesses by gross revenue, and those that got the top 3 spots are Lazada E-Service Philippines, Incorporated; Yondu, Incorporated (Entertainment Gateway Group); and BF Jade E-Services Philippines, Incorporated (Zalora).

I-Remit, Incorporated; Xurpas, Incorporated; Chikka Philippines, Incorporated; Level Up! Incorporated; Rappler, Incorporated; and MetroDeal, Incorporated also joined the list of top startups, ranked according to gross revenue in 2014.

Lazada

Riding the Philippines' e-commerce boom, the online shopping site (based on page views per visitor daily, according to Web analytics source Alexa.com) has topped the magazine’s list of leading startups.

Incorporated in 2012, Forbes reported that its gross revenue went up by 71% to P1.07 billion in 2014. Although its revenue grew by more than a half, Lazada still registered a net loss of P975.2 million in 2014.

Its marketplace model allows merchants to compete with their prices, with the final amount sometimes falling lower than what some of these retailers offer offline.

Entertainment Gateway Group

The mobile content provider that was sold to Globe Telecom, Incorporated based on a valuation of $8 million ranked second in Forbes Philippines’ top startups list.

Yondu in 2014 saw its gross revenue surge by 41% to P853.9 million, and its net income increase by 26% to P250.6 million.

In September 2015, Xurpas invested P900 million to acquire a 51% stake in Globe’s Yondu. The investment is meant to solidify their partnership in the Internet and digital space.

Xurpas and Globe said they will transform Yondu into a regional arm for digital content distribution and other technology-driven services.

Yondu develops mobile content, and provides mobile and information technology services.

Zalora

Zalora Philippines’ operator BF Jade E-Services ranked 4th in Forbes’ list, reporting 2014 gross revenue of P465.9 million. This is almost double the revenue it reported in 2013.

Just like Lazada, Forbes said Zalora reported a net loss of P532.9 million in 2014 despite the surge in revenue.

Since its incorporation in 2012, the company has been testing different methods to broaden its reach.

The Zalora pop-up store is the one of the latest ventures in the company’s young history.

"Since we started operations in 2012, we’ve continued to look for innovative ways to grow e-commerce in the Philippines, and through this initiative, we hope to widen our customer reach, educate them on the benefits of online shopping, and dress them in the latest fashion trends in the quickest way possible," Zalora Philippines Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Paulo Campos had said.

I-Remit

The remittance firm is among the oldest of the bunch, incorporated in 2001. 

When the company made its debut on the Philippine Stock Exchange in 2007, I-Remit was 5 times oversubscribed. The company priced the initial public offering at P4.68 per share.

In 2014, Forbes said I-Remit’s gross revenue decreased by 6% to P453.6 million, while its net income slid by 43% to P23.4 million.

Xurpas

Securing the 5th spot, Forbes reported that Xurpas saw its gross revenue increase by 64% to P331.8 million, and its net income by 57% to P174.7 million in 2014.

TECH LESSONS. Xurpas CEO Nix Nolledo and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa answer questions from TV broadcaster Karen Davila at the APEC SME Summit, November 17, 2015.

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

The listed mobile technology provider has announced more than 8 investments since it raised P1.24 billion from an initial public offering (IPO) in December 2014.

Among its latest is its 51% stake acquisition in Yondu and its $500,000 investment in convertible promissory notes to be issued by Singapore-based technology solutions provider Einsights Private Limited.

"Our core priority now is really to expand to other markets," Xurpas CEO Nix Nolledo told Forbes Philippines. "You want to be in a position where you launch something now, and if it works in the Philippines, you can rapidly scale it to other markets."

Nolledo is a board member of Rappler.

Chikka, Level Up!

Chikka ranked 6th and Level Up! ranked 7th  in Forbes Philippines' top startups list. 

Incorporated in 2004, Chikka was then sold to Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company Incorporated (PLDT) based on a valuation of $15 million, the magazine reported.

Level Up! was also sold to PLDT based on a valuation of $50 million.

In 2014, Chikka earned P223.6 million in gross revenue, a 14% increase from a year ago. Its net loss, however, widened to P68.6 million in 2014.

While Level Up! saw its gross revenue decrease by 42% to P166 million in 2014. Its net loss, however, narrowed down to P62.3 million in 2014.

Rappler

The nearly 4-and-a-half year old social news network ranked 8th in Forbes Philippines' top startups based on gross revenue.

TAPPING SOCIAL MEDIA. Rappler CEO Maria Ressa says social media and technology combine for social good in Rappler.

Photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

Starting on a Facebook page in 2011, Rappler had become the 3rd most popular news website in the country by 2013.

Founded by former CNN correspondent in Southeast Asia Maria Ressa, Rappler produces mixed social-media responsive news stories with short video clips and crowd-sourced news articles.

In 2014, Rappler saw its gross revenue double to P116.1 million, which narrowed down its net loss to P26 million.

Manuel Ayala, Rappler's chairman of the board, told Forbes Philippines: "One of the greatest lessons I learned is that timing is everything."

"Time is the difference between success and absolute failure," Ayala was quoted in an article by Forbes.

Other tech startups included in the Forbes' list are MetroDeal, Incorporated; RareJob Philippines, Incorporated; MyTaxi.PH, Incorporated (Grab); and Moonline, Incorporated. – Rappler.com