7 Pinoys make it to Forbes’ ‘Under 30’

Iris Gonzales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines —  Seven Filipinos made it to the Forbes’ roster of “30 Under 30 Asia 2023,” a list of below 30 trailblazers in the Asia-Pacific region.

This year’s list featured 300 young entrepreneurs, leaders and trailblazers across the Asia-Pacific region, all under the age of 30, “who are effecting positive change and driving innovation amid global economic uncertainty and a challenging environment.”

The seven Filipinos are part of different industries ranging from finance and venture capital, industry, manufacturing and energy, to the arts, retail and e-commerce.

Aaron Villegas, CEO of Lista, is one of the honorees from the Philippines.

Lista is a finance tracker app that “helps individuals and small businesses in the Philippines manage their finances.”

Forbes said Villegas’ Lista lets users plan spending, track finances and set payment or debt reminders. The company, founded in 2021, has at least 1.6 million downloads.

“Lista has raised $5.8 million from investors, including the $5.1 million in June 2022 led by OpenSpace Ventures with participation from East Ventures, Saison Capital, and 1982 Ventures,” Forbes said.

Expedock co-founders Rui Aguiar, King Alandy Dy, Jeff Tan and Jig Young are also among the honorees.

A startup, Expedock uses AI to read paperwork and invoices, before categorizing and visualizing P&L insights for supply chain businesses.

Isabel Sicat, co-founder of Toqa, is another honoree from the Philippines.

Toqa “turns deadstock fabrics into sustainable high fashion, including sheer slip dresses, high-cut metallic swimwear and vibrant island prints,” according to Forbes.

Completing the honorees from the Philippines is David Marquez, co-founder of Manila-based delivery platform Shipmates.

Forbes said: “Marquez cofounded Shipmates in August 2020, when the pandemic increased demand for e-commerce and accompanying courier services. The startup, which aims to usher in ‘next-generation’ shipping technology and infrastructure for the Philippines, was selected for Y Combinator’s 2022 summer cohort. It raised $2.2 million in a seed round, with participation from Wavemaker Partners. Before Shipmates, Marquez cofounded t-shirt printing startup Shirt.ly and supply chain and storage startup Xpanse.”

The Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2023 features 30 notable honorees selected for each of the 10 categories, including The Arts (Art & Style, Food & Drink); Entertainment & Sports; Finance & Venture Capital; Media, Marketing & Advertising; Retail & Ecommerce; Enterprise Technology; Industry, Manufacturing & Energy; Healthcare & Science; Social Impact and Consumer Technology.

Rana Wehbe Watson, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Editor, said: “Despite a challenging year marked by global economic uncertainty and a drop in VC funding, the 2023 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia entrepreneurs continued to innovate and thrive across industries.”

Twenty countries and territories were represented across the Asia-Pacific region with India having the highest number of honorees of 75 on this year’s list, followed by China with 34. Japan came in third with 33 honorees, while Singapore has 30 honorees. South Korea has 28 honorees on the list.

Judges include Maria Grace Uy, co-founder and president of Converge ICT Solutions; Roshni Nadar Malhotra, chairperson of HCL Technologies and trustee of Shiv Nadar Foundation; Kai-Fu Lee, chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures; JP Gan, founding partner at INCE Capital; S.D. Shibulal, Sonny Vu, founder of Alabaster and Nicole Warne, founder of Gary Pepper Girl.

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