Twelve Filipino Startups Making a Difference Amidst COVID-19

photos and information from QBO Innovation Hub

Photo 1. Photo shows startup founders Shahab Shabibi, co-founder of MyKuya; Gabby Dizon, CEO and cofounder of Altitude Games; Moritz Gastl, vice-president of Growth of First Circle; Stefano Fazzini, CEO of MetroMart; and Bonnie Factor, founder of Leading with Success with moderator Rocky Chan and QBO Head of Operations Natasha Bautista and QBO Director Katrina Chan during the first virtual QLITAN session held amidst COVID-19. Photo credit: QBO Innovation Hub


Businesses are one of the worst hit by the impact of COVID-19. Most brick and mortar stores were closed down and had to move to e-commerce. Manual laborers were either put out of work or called to serve in the frontlines. Fortunately, startups that have always had a foot on technology are equipped to find solutions and create a lasting difference in the lives of Filipinos.

“Startups are called to do what they do best — they are rising up to this challenge by deploying innovative solutions, moving quickly, and showing us how we can harness the power of technology for the greater good. They are, in a way, frontliners in their own rights, taking initiative to tackle this crisis by leveraging their strengths in technology to help our country move forward despite the challenges brought by this pandemic,” said Katrina Chan, director of QBO Innovation Hub during one of its virtual QLITAN sessions titled “Startup Survival Guide — Adapting to the New Norm”. QLITAN is a bi-weekly networking event hosted by QBO since 2016.

  1. RapidPass. For a smooth passage through designated checkpoints, the Department of Science and Technology with Developers Connect has introduced RapidPass—a system that turns a quarantine pass into a QR code for an easy and no-contact scanning.
  1. Senti. As a pioneer in artificial intelligence, Senti is assisting the Department of Health by providing chatbots to address COVID-19-related inquiries.
  1. StaySafe.ph by Multisys. An app made for the convenience of contact tracing, Stay Safe allows the recording of its users’ health conditions and marks places that have traces of the virus.
  1. LGU vs COVID PH. Limitless Lab, in partnership with The Asia Foundation, developed an information portal for local government units (LGUs). The platform is an easy-to-use, updated, and reliable dashboard of all COVID-19 related information which LGUs can use and refer to.
  2. MetroMart. Delivery services have been the lifeline of some households and MetroMart has been providing this solution even before the quarantine. To up the ante, they have launched MetroMart Cares, a special online store for grocery donations in partnership with World Vision and Gawad Kalinga.
  3. Zagana makes farm-to-table dining possible by delivering fresh produce by local farmers to the doorstep of their consumers. Due to the quarantine, delivery of goods are possible in areas including Manila, Quezon City (except Novaliches and Fairview), Marikina, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig, Pateros, Makati, Pasay, and Taguig.
  4. MyKuya. To lessen stepping out of homes, MyKuya has been offering to run errands through its services such as meal delivery, bills payment, and pharmacy and grocery runs.

A person wearing a blue shirt and a helmet

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Photo 2. MyKuya volunteer runners serve as frontliners at this time by helping run errands for those stuck at home and vulnerable to COVID-19. Photo credit: MyKuya

  1. AIDE While hospitals are filling up, AIDE has turned healthcare into the virtual world by connecting patients and medical professionals. Through their app, one can easily consult with doctors and get prescriptions within the confines of one’s home. 
  2. Pandalivery. Pandalivery is proof that startups don’t have to be in the Metro to thrive. In their operations area, Camarines Sur and Albay, they have expanded their service to include groceries and medicines on top of their food delivery service.
  1. Streetby. To provide a virtual marketplace for merchants, Streetby continues to reach households in areas in Mindanao including Bukidnon, Cagayan de Oro, Camiguin, Davao, General Santos, and Iligan.
  1. Container Living. QBO incubatee Container Living is responding to hospital overcrowding with Rapid Deployment (RAD) Hospitals—a scalable, easy-to-deploy, isolation and intensive care facilities for COVID-19 patients built alongside its team of local architects, professionals and engineers to build.

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Photo 3. Filipino startup Container Living spearheads the creation of Rapid Deployment Hospitals to aid in the overcrowding of medical facilities due to COVID-19. Photo credit: Container Living

  1. Kumu. Livestreaming app Kumu launched Kumu Lives Streaming Service to hold events and gatherings online and Social DistanSING, a fundraiser that tapped artists and celebrities to share their talents for families affected by COVID-19. To date, Kumu’s cause has raised an estimate of Php1.2 million pesos for charity.

“Our mantra at QBO is ‘Filipino Startups Changing the World’. We have always believed that our homegrown ventures and innovators can make a meaningful contribution to solving critical challenges and create impact. Now, our startups are showing what they’re capable of, and we hope that everyone will take notice, and recognize the crucial role that Filipino startups can play in bringing fresh ideas into action and will continue to support them in future.”

For its part, QBO also harnesses the power of tech by continuously providing support and learning opportunities to Filipino startups, making sure they are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to push forward despite the threat of COVID-19. For more information, visit facebook.com/QBOphilippines/ and qbo.com.ph/.


About QBO

QBO (‘ku-bo’) is an innovation hub or a platform for the startup community to collaborate, develop talent, and grow. It provides startups with support and resources through events and capacity building programs as well as focused interventions designed to improve access to markets, knowledge, capital, and talent. QBO is the country’s first public-private initiative for startups, created through a partnership between IdeaSpace, J.P. Morgan, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry.

Spurred on by the vision of Filipinos startups changing the world, QBO’s mission is to create a globally competitive startup ecosystem in the Philippines.

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