Filipina tech leader, Stephanie Sy, lands in Forbes’ ’30 Under 30 Asia’ list for 2018

Gelo Gonzales

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Filipina tech leader, Stephanie Sy, lands in Forbes’ ’30 Under 30 Asia’ list for 2018
Sy is the founder of Thinking Machines, a startup that helps institutions make better decisions through the use of data

MANILA, Philippines – A Filipina tech leader was included in the most recent edition of the “Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia” roster, a list that names the movers and disruptors in their particular industries, young entrepreneurs, and innovators. 

Her name: Stephanie Sy. The 29-year-old Sy is the woman behind the startup Thinking Machines, a data science firm that harnesses and analyzes data for a variety of purposes. They work with various sectors. They work with brands and the corporate sector to help them “discover insights and improve decision-making”.

But at the same time, they also contribute to the civic sector, academic institutions, and government, making use of artificial intelligence and machine learning for social good. They also uncover crucial insights for the betterment of society. 

One of the ways that they’ve helped government is through a project with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) that sought to address horrible traffic situations in the metro. Sy’s company harnessed data collected by the traffic navigation app Waze to tackle the said problem, according to her 30 under 30 page.

Other works by Thinking Machines include a submission to the World Health Organization that analyzed 20,000 news articles on traffic incidents to find patterns in how road safety is reported in the Philippines, and a paper that harnessed data provided by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism to see voter registration patterns in the Philippines. On the corporate side, to name one, they’ve worked with PayMaya to learn about digital consumer behavior using data analysis. 

The company also has a showreel demonstrating the work they’ve done over the years:

Thinking Machines has only been in operation for 3 years, founded in 2015 by Sy, driven by her desire to make companies and institutions more effective by making decisions driven by data. Since then, the company has opened offices in Manila and San Francisco, with a clientele that also includes NGOs and other startups.

Through data engineering, machine learning, data storytelling, and data strategy, Sy and her company are helping institutions change the way they make decisions – decisions that may ultimately affect society as a whole. They’re showing a different perspective, a way to look at the world with insights backed by real, hard numbers, presented in a way that’s easy to understand. 

Sy is among the 300 young innovators included in the third edition of the annual list, with selections coming from 24 countries across the Asia-Pacific, including Azerbaijan and North Korea for the first time. Sy is among the 5 Filipinos who made the Forbes list and at least one other Philippine-based entrepreneur.

The others are Miko Aspiras, a top chef with multiple restaurants under his name; video blogger Bretman Sacayanan, who has 8 million followers on Instagram and almost 2 million on Youtube; Carlo Delantar, the country director of non-profit group Waves for Water, which provides clean water for communities in need; and Archie Oclos, who has painted murals that are critical of the present administration’s “war on drugs.” 

An Irish man by the name of Patrick Lynch was also included in the list for his work with First Circle, a financial technology startup he co-founded and operates in the Philippines. –

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.