2019 FEATURED PARTICIPANTS
One of Asia’s most recognisable entrepreneurs, Tony Fernandes is best known for co-founding AirAsia, the region’s first low-cost airline, with Datuk Kamarudin Meranun. Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin famously bought the ailing airline for a token MYR1 (approximately USD0.25) and MYR40 million in debt, turning it around within two years and growing it from a Malaysian domestic carrier into Asia’s largest low-cost carrier by passengers carried, with operations in six countries serving some 320 routes to more than 130 destinations across Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the US. AirAsia has been named the World’s Best Low-Cost Airline at the annual Skytrax World Airline Awards 10 times in a row from 2009 to 2018. AirAsia was also awarded World's Leading Low-Cost Airline for the sixth consecutive year at the 2018 World Travel Awards, where it also won the World's Leading Low-Cost Airline Cabin Crew award for a second straight year. Fernandes studied in the UK, and qualified as an Associate Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 1991 and Fellow Member in 1996. An accountant by training, Fernandes began his career in Virgin Group before returning to Malaysia as Warner Music Group’s Vice President for Southeast Asia before venturing into the airline business. Fernandes has received numerous honours and awards over the course of his career. These include the Honour of the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, conferred by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, and the Commander of the Legion d’Honneur, awarded by the French government for his outstanding contributions towards the economy of France through the aviation industry. In 2010, Fernandes was named Businessman of the Year by Forbes Asia - the first person from Malaysia and Asean to receive the honour - for democratising air travel and transforming AirAsia into a successful global brand. TIME Magazine included Fernandes in the 2015 TIME 100 list, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world which included Chinese President Xi Jinping, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and hip-hop artist Kanye West. In 2016, Fernandes was recognised by the US-Asean Business Council with the Fourth Pillar Award for his extraordinary contribution towards the growth of Asean, the second recipient of the award after the Administration of US President Barack Obama.
Smartphone maker OnePlus gained popularity by selling feature-packed android phones for a lot less than market peers. The company claims it made more than $300 million in revenue in its first year in 2014. OnePlus, which now sells in 36 countries, has since followed up with OnePlusTwo and OnePlusX. Pei grew up in Stockholm and studied at the Stockholm School of Economics. He dropped out before finishing his degree. Before founding OnePlus, Pei worked at smartphone makers Meizu, OPPO and Nokia.
Ankiti Bose and Dhruv Kapoor cofounded online e-commerce marketplace Zilingo in 2015. Their mission was to provide a platform where thousands of fashion merchants could sell and become part of the digital economy. With the support of heavyweight investors such as Silicon Valley billionaire Tim Draper, the partners have raised some $28 million and currently have 8,000 merchants and more than two million users.
A Mauritius native, educated in the U.S., Eric is an avid explorer with a multicultural upbringing that taught him to speak seven languages. Before co-founding Klook in 2014, Eric worked in finance at a global investment bank in Hong Kong, traveling extensively worldwide.
As Chief Operating Officer of Klook, Eric spearheads the company’s global expansion in the supply portfolio. He is instrumental in establishing partnerships with key travel players such as Universal Studios, Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR), Japan National Tourism Organization, Hong Kong Tourism Board, and many more. Eric’s leadership contributed significantly to Klook’s diverse product offerings and the company’s popularity across the globe.
Eric was featured on Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2017 List and China’s Yicai (CBN) Brilliant 20 List, recognizing his entrepreneurial spirit and game-changing attitude. Eric has been invited to speak in various world-class tech and travel conferences including TechCrunch, RISE, WIT (Web In Travel), Phocuswright, Arival and ITB.
Sarah Chen is an investor and cofounder of The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, which ultimately aims to mobilize $1 billion dollars in funding into companies founded by women entrepreneurs. Its primary goal is to tackle the gender funding gap female founders face. By 2020, it hopes to have invested $1 billion in startups driven by women. So far, it has secured pledges of over $750 million from global investors including Gobi Partners, Golden Gate Ventures, Rethink Impact, Springboard Growth Capital, Backstage Capital and Different Funds.
Samer Al Moubayed is the CEO and co-founder of Furhat Robotics - one of the world’s fastest-growing social robotics companies. Furhat recently launched a social robot on the market that is extremely customizable, and allows for building very sophisticated robot personalities
Samer holds a PhD in Speech Technology and a Masters degree in AI and Language. Prior to Furhat, Samer worked at Disney Imagineering, where together with a team of scientists, he developed social robotics for the Disney Parks and Resorts - including developments for the Furhat technology.
When Manuri Gunawardena was a medical student she witnessed patients who had exhausted all traditional medical options, yet struggled to find and access potentially life saving clinical trials. As a cofounder and CEO of HealthMatch, she aims to connect sick patients with clinical trials of potential cutting edge treatments. HealthMatch has raised $1.3 million in capital from Australian and U.S. industry leaders and won the inaugurual Australian version of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield.
Modi is the chief executive of Lucideus, an enterprise cybersecurity company that he helped start. The firm based in India has provided electronic risk management services for four years to large companies offshore. Modi also joined an Indian government committee formed in 2014 to set up cybersecurity vocational courses. Multiple universities in Asia count him as a visiting faculty member specialized in information systems and security.
Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2016
After studying economics at the University of Chicago, Sun joined Goldman Sachs as a technology analyst, where she soon discovered her passion in technology. She learned to code and then worked as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, before returning to Hong Kong, where she was born and raised. She set up First Code Academy in 2013, to give the opportunity for students to learn creative problem solving through programming. She received international accolades for her work last year, including the BBC 30 Under 30 Women Entrepreneurs, Women of Hope Award in the Entrepreneur category, and American Chambers Women of Influence Awards in the Young Entrepreneur category.
Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia : Class of 2016
Orchlon Enkhtsetseg is the CEO of Clean Energy Asia, an energy startup founded in 2012 that aims to utilize Mongolia's vast wind and solar resources to decrease the country's reliance on imported fuel and electricity. Clean Energy Asia is a joint venture by Newcom, a Mongolian telecom conglomerate, and SB Energy, the energy arm of Softbank Group. In 2017, Clean Energy Asia raised $128 million to build its first 50MW wind farm in the Gobi desert.
Yang joined Hong Kong-based food delivery startup NOSH as its chief operating officer in 2017. She helped the company launch its corporate-oriented service, which delivers pre-prepared lunches to offices across the city. NOSH also sells meal plans to individual consumers through its smartphone app and its meal boxes can be found in supermarkets across the city. In 2016, the startup raised $500,000 in seed funding from the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund, a not-for-profit initiative the e-commerce giant launched to support entrepreneurs in Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Deep Bedi is Chief Product Officer at PayMe from HSBC and has built a startup within a 150-year-old bank. He is an intrapreneur and has launched HSBC's most successful digital product, PayMe. Under his product leadership, PayMe has surpassed over one million users within 17 months from launch, establishing itself as one of the fastest growing fintech entities in Hong Kong. Deep, with PayMe, has changed the lives for millions in Hong Kong and is leading the way to transform the city into a digital economy.
Tesollo is a hardware startup that has developed innovative devices such as the NUBO Rosetta smart pen, which helps users memorize vocabulary more quickly; and the Penna Pointer, a laser pointer with simple yet useful features such as anti-shake and color pen mode. Tesollo is currently developing a robotic arm for forearm amputees. Founded in 2017, the startup was named a top 80 company at Slush Tokyo in 2018.
Simmendinger is the founder and CEO of Soundbrenner Ltd., which makes wearable smart metronomes for musicians who need help establishing a rhythm. Before starting the company in 2014, the German national based in Hong Kong got a degree in business administration from schools in Germany and Mexico. He published his first non-fiction book at age 24. Simmendinger speaks four languages and goes backpacking around the world.
Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2016
Yu and Chiang are the brains behind Snapask, an app for high school students to take snapshots of their homework, connect and chat with a tutor about their lessons. Snapask, funded with $1.8 million by angel investors, gets a cut of a fee paid by some 26,000 students using the app. Launched in Hong Kong in 2015, Snapask has extended to Taiwan and Singapore. Yu founded a similar e-learning startup the year before his 2012 graduation from The University of Hong Kong. Chiang hasn't even graduated yet - that's expected this year, from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2016
Designer Percy Lau founded her eponymous eyewear brand in Hong Kong in 2013. Her glasses, which are famous for their bold style and irregular shapes, have been spotted on celebrities including Lady Gaga and Chinese pop star Yang Mi and can be found at stockists in Beijing, New York and Sydney. Lau, a graduate of the Central Saint Martins art school in London, is also the youngest winner of the International Talent Support YKK Award in 2013.
Kenny Wang cofounded smart lock maker igloohome with Anthony Chow and Kelvin Ho (both over the age of 30.) He was inspired to start the company after being locked out of a house, unable to tend to his grandfather who was found lying unconscious. igloohome now builds keyless solutions that allow users to manage their properties remotely. As COO, Wang has grown the company to 90 countries and partnered with Airbnb, Booking.com, and Allianz. It has raised over $10 million in funding from Singapore's Insignia Ventures Partners and Temasek-backed Wavemaker Partners.
Kaushik Mudda and Navin Jain are the founders of Ethereal Machines, a 3D printing startup based in Bangalore that recently developed the Ethereal Halo, a consumer-oriented 5D printer. While it isn't the first 5D printer in the world, the Ethereal Halo is 40-60% cheaper than most alternatives on the market, allowing users to replicate complex manufacturing methods. For their innovation, Ethereal Machines became the first Indian company to win the prestigious Best of Innovation Awards in 2018 at CES in Las Vegas.
At the beginning of 2018 a Bangladeshi cartoonist under the pen name Morshed Mishu began transforming tragic and shocking images from wars into joyful art, hoping to show how beautiful the world would be without violence or war. His series, named 'Global Happiness Challenge' project, went viral after that. Mishu has been working as a professional cartoonist since 2012 and is currently, the assistant editor at Unmad, a Dhaka-based satire magazine and the founder of Morshed Mishu's Illustration.
Florence Van Dyke was a star triathlete and corporate lawyer when her sister Chloe founded CHIA, a healthy energy drink brand that produces bottled juices with hydrated chia seeds. Chloe created her first CHIA products with her sister's triathlons in mind, so it was a natural fit when Florence joined CHIA in 2016. After three years at the company, Van Dyke now serves as CEO and has overseen the company's entry into new markets as it expands out of its humble home in Nelson, New Zealand.
Richard Yim started Demine Robotics with a vision to help others avoid the fate of his aunt, who died more than a decade ago after stepping on a landmine when he was a child in Cambodia. Since 1979 more than 64,000 casualties have been caused by landmines in Yim's home country. His company's mine clearance machine, Jevit, is designed to safely eradicate landmines remotely with minimal human exposure.
Patrick Dai, also known as Steven Dai or Shuai Chu in China, cofounded Singapore-based Qtum Foundation in 2016. The project has since grown into one of the best known platforms for building decentralized applications based on blockchain technologies. It has also issued Qtum, an eponymous digital currency that now has a market cap of $194 million, making it No. 32 on the top 100 most traded digital currencies, according to CoinMarketCap. Dai is a graduate of Draper University and has worked for Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba before striking out on his own.
A winner of multiple hackathons, Goh Jian Kai (Jake) dropped out of college to start Rate with his cofounders Davis Gay and Jing Rong Lim. Their first product RateX is a browser extension that automatically applies coupon codes and offers the best exchange rates for e-commerce purchases, helping users save over half a million dollars to date. Their blockchain project, Rate3, also raised $15 million through a token sale. Previously, Rate netted $2.3 million in a pre-series A round led by Alpha JWC Ventures and Insignia Ventures Partners.
Eva Mackinley founded The Last Straw, a campaign whose mission is to reduce the use of plastic straws and single-use plastics around Australia. She was motivated to kick it off after noticing how many straws were being thrown away at the bar she was working at. Since its foundation in 2015, The Last Straw has brought on over 500 venues in Australia and seen the establishment of Last Straw groups in Peru, Indonesia and Kenya. In 2018 alone they helped stop over 13 million plastic straws from entering the waste system.
Jason Lee believes blockchain can solve real-world problems. His role at the Singapore-based NEM.io foundation helps him achieve this by giving him the opportunity to encourage enterprises to adopt NEM blockchain technology to assist in growth and economic progress. The technology is helpful for businesses across the spectrum -- from farming to educators and bankers. Lee is also no stranger to the fintech industry, with experience cofounding two companies, insurtech startup PolicyStreet and smart city accelerator program Finnext Capital.
Akshay Singhal and Kartik Hajela are the cofounders of Log 9 Materials, a nanotechnology startup based in Bengaluru, India. Log 9 focuses on commercialization of graphene, a material which is one million times thinner than paper and 200 times stronger than steel. The duo uses the material to develop a metal-air battery that costs nearly half as much as the lithium-ion battery used in electric cars. Last year, Log 9 won the Most Innovative Technology Company of 2018 from the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India.
Roshni Rides is a women's friendly carpooling platform for commuters based in Pakistan and founded by Hanaa Lakhani, Hasan Usmani,Gia Farooqi and Moneeb Mian. The four Rutgers classmates wanted to provide a reliable transportation service for refugees, and their company arranges affordable rickshaw rides along designated routes between a refugee camp and common destinations such as markets and hospitals. The idea helped Roshni Rides win the $1 million Hult Prize in 2017, and the team are now focused on working with companies to provide safe rides for female employees in the country.
Mohammad Danesh is the cofounder of Trancelestial Technologies, a Singapore-based space technology startup. Its product, Centauri 1.0, has the capability to use a space laser network and nanosatellites to deliver high-speed internet anywhere on Earth. The company raised $2.5 million in seed funding led by Wavemaker Partners in partnership with Seeds Capital. Other participants in the round included Airtree Ventures, 500 Startups and angel investors such as Y-Combinator chief executive Michael Seibel.
Natalie Nguyen cofounded Sydney-based Hyper Anna, a data analyzing software that taps into business intelligence and delivers real-time insights from natural language requests. As CEO she has built a viable beta product within 6 months and has raised over $12.5 million in funding. The company's investors include Sequoia China, Airtree Ventures, Westpac Reinventure and IAG Firemark Ventures.
Tarun Jami and Varun Jami are cofounders of GreenJams Infrastructures, a startup focusing on bio-aggregate building materials. Currently, their company is working on the development of hempcrete, an eco-friendly concrete block made by extracts from hemp, that can be used by the Indian construction industry. They recognize the immense impact of construction on climate change and the importance of farmers in its mitigation.
Indonesia's Saab Shares was founded by sisters Sabrina and Elena Bensawan to provide accommodation, part-time education and access to healthcare for the country's underprivileged children and low-income families. Saab Shares is an extension of an initiative that Sabrina launched when she was 16 with the support of her sister who sheltered orphans and the homeless.
Noelle Martin is a 24-year-old law graduate and activist in Australia. When she was 17, she accidentally discovered that her selfie had been photoshopped into pornographic images and distributed across porn sites. The young student chose to speak out against such image-based abuse, which led to more online attacks. Her action has become a major factor behind recently-enacted laws that make circulation of non-consensual intimate images illegal in Australia. Martin is a finalist for the 2019 Young Australian of the Year award.
To lessen the stigma associated with menstruation in India, Deane De Menezes founded Red is the new Green, a campaign that hosts education sessions in order to help school-age girls feel less ashamed. Red is the new Green, which has helped over 15,000 girls, has also installed sanitary towel vending machines and eco-friendly incinerators to reduce waste in schools.
After completing a Cordon Bleu Grand Diplome in London, Anahita Dhondy returned to India, and collaborated with veteran restaurateur A.D. Singh to launch the first SodaBottleOpenerWala in New Delhi in 2013. Now Chef-Partner at the branch, Dhondy has seen the expansion of the chain, promoting her native Parsi cuisine. A passionate cook since the age of 10, Dhondy continues to be very active within the Indian culinary scene, and has won several awards, including the Young Chef India award and the Times Food Award.
Victoria Chow has been mixing some of Hong Kong's most innovative cocktails since 2014 with the creation of her first bar, The Woods, which she cofounded with her older sister Juliette. Anticipating the city's now vibrant craft cocktail movement, Chow expanded operations in 2017 to include both KWOON, a canned cocktail brand, and The Woods Annex, a private 8-seater bar where she can continue to experiment and educate.
Vinesh Johny is the co-founder and Executive Pastry Chef of Lavonne Academy of Baking Science & Pastry Arts, India. After graduating from culinary school, he went on to work with The Oberoi Group of Hotels and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, in various capacities, before he found his calling to be an educator. He set up India's first international specialised baking academy (affiliated to City & Guilds, London), in 2012, at the age of 24, with the aim of making pastry arts a mainstream career choice. Lavonne brings in pastry chefs of international repute and thereby provides world class education to students wanting to specialise in the field. Known best for his engaging personality and his non-conformity to old-school methods of teaching, Vinesh brings his expertise to the table through the masterclasses he conducts in addition to heading the academics for the Diploma program at Lavonne. He also owns an award winning patisserie under the same brand.
Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia Class of 2016
Neel Madhav is an Indian TV personality, author, mentalist, illusionist and TEDx speaker. He has his own TV show on NDTV called 'You Got Magic with Neel Madhav' -- which sees him travelling across India and performing his magical act everywhere from the big cities to the small villages. Also author of a book called 'You Got Magic', published by Penguin Randomhouse, Madhav has given two TEDx talks -- one in Mumbai and one in Bangalore. His tricks include a combination of magic with mentalism, neuro-linguistic programming, and criminology.
Ah Moon, the singer-songwriter and actress from the Kachin State of Myanmar definitely set a serious mark in her home country. Being one of the most recognised and prolific artist in Myanmar she´s now crossing international borders. Global record releases in Asia and Europe are around the corner and will create a growing awareness of this outstanding artist . Listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia last year was just another milestone in her amazing career. She’s dedicating her life to her music and fans and is using her power with over 2.7 million FB followers to strongly support the education of women and the health of the youth and children.
Known on stage as Heartgrey, Eric is a renowned beatboxer and three-time Chinese Beatbox Champion. He was part of the top 8 at the Emperor of Mic 2011 event and Asia Beatbox Championship 2018 as well as a finalist in Grand Beatbox Battle 2017.
Heartgrey performed in various commercial events and TV shows such as Asia’s Got Talent, China Got Talent and Happy Camp from Hunan TV among others.
He has collaborated with different celebrities such as JoLam Wong, G.E.M. and Sherman Chung, and featured in the Hong Kong movie “The Way We Dance.”
UK-born, Hong Kong-based artist James Morley has played music from a young age with instruments ranging from guitar, piano and vocals. As well as writing and performing music, he also crafts and composes for ADs and films while continuing to be the head digital content producer for Forbes 30 Under 30 featured music technology startup, Soundbrenner.