MANILA - Philippine startup AcadArena made it to this year's Forbes 30 under 30 list in Asia for helping student gamers compete in international esports tournaments.
AcadArena has partnered with more than 600 schools, covering some 100,000 students in Southeast Asia, to create and support gaming clubs and communities, Forbes said.
Founded in 2019 by Justin Banusing, Kevin Hoang and Ariane Lim, the campus gaming organization described the Forbes recognition as a "first in local gaming and esports."
The achievement means the startup's goal "grows strong" as it expands resources "to help student gamers play in regional & international esports tournaments, connect with different schools to establish student organizations in their own campus, and to earn scholarships to fund their education," AcadArena said in a blog post.
Banusing at 16 founded an events and media agency, before eventually building AcadArena with Lim and Hoang.
"Running a startup in a pandemic (especially as a student) was tough, but we knew we had to do something for the campus gaming scene... And as we gave back to the community, success followed," Banusing said in a series of tweets.
Hoang said he felt "humbled" to be recognized in the list.
"I've worked on almost every major esports program with the sole mission to build what I wish I had in school," he said. "That is the reason AcadArena exists - to champion gaming culture to students across the world."
In December last year, AcadArena raised $3.5 million in seed funding. Its backers include Iterative Capital, Infinity Ventures Crypto and Kevin Lin, cofounder of video game streaming platform Twitch, said Forbes.
The seed funding was used to fund scholarships.
The annual “30 Under 30 Asia” list features young entrepreneurs, leaders and trailblazers across the Asia-Pacific region, all under the age of 30, "who are inspiring change and driving innovation in their respective fields amid the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic," Forbes said in a news release.
This year's list features 30 honorees for each of the 10 categories, including the arts; entertainment and sports; finance and venture capital; media, marketing and advertising; retail & e-commerce; enterprise technology; industry, manufacturing & energy; healthcare and science; social impact, and consumer technology.