When it comes to areas like technology and business, people generally presume that these are the things that men are good at. The same can be said for the tech startup industry as well, but in Southeast Asia, there are some female game-changers who are revolutionising the digital entrepreneurial world. These women are setting examples by taking their business to new heights and contributing to the economy as well as the social landscape of the society. In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we collated a list of some powerhouse female entrepreneurs who are revolutionising the tech startup scene in Southeast Asia.
Ankiti Bose, Zilingo, Singapore
After drawing inspiration while shopping for clothes in a local market during a holiday trip to Bangkok, 27-year-old Ankiti Bose along with her business partner Dhruv Kapoor started a fashion platform called Zilingo. The eCommerce startup provides an online platform to small fashion retailers of Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta.
Zilingo began in 2015 as a fashion and lifestyle marketplace but has since expanded into the business-to-business space by providing supply chain capabilities to fashion merchants. Recently, Ankiti’s startup announced that it raised US$226 million in a series D funding.
Ee Ling, Smarter Me, Singapore
Ee Ling is the CEO & Founder of Smarter Me – an Edtech company based out of Singapore. After working as an Investment Banker for 10 years, she decided to start this futuristic live e-school with a mission to equip kids with the skillset, mindset and heart set for the future.
Ee Ling realised that there was a huge gap between her kids’ education and the fast-changing global economy. She says it all began with an innocent grumble from her 12-year-old asking her why was she supposed to learn Geology in school and when would it help her in life. Smarter Me was launched in April 2016 and is actually bringing about real change in the education sector by making the best use of technology.
Rachel de Villa, Cropital, Philippines
Rachel de Villa, 25, is one of the founders and the Chief Technology Officer of the crowdfunding startup Cropital. It is a social enterprise that supports Filipino farmers by matching them with the right investors. Investors can get up to 25% return dependent on the terms while farmers get a share in the profit.
She started this company in November 2015 with two other millennials who shared her vision to improve the economic conditions of farmers in the Philippines. Cropital has helped over 600 farmers across the country since their launch.
Wendy Chen, Omnistream, Singapore
Wendy Chen used to be a quantitative trader. Today, she is running a successful retail technology company called Omnistream. She started Omnistream in 2013 to develop technology services that cater specifically to retailers in Southeast Asia. The startup was founded in Hong Kong and is now headquartered in Singapore. Wendy has a deep love for Southeast Asia, recognises the uniqueness of the region, and takes pride in providing services to the region she grew up in.
Ayesha Khanna, ADDO AI, Singapore
The co-founder and CEO of ADDO AI, an artificial intelligence solutions firm and incubator, Dr Ayesha Khanna is another power-house tech startup entrepreneur in the region.
Her company has been featured in the Forbes magazine as one of the four leading artificial intelligence companies in Asia. Moreover, Ayesha was named one of South East Asia’s groundbreaking female entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine last year.
Anna Trybocka, CrescoData, Singapore
Founded by a group of digital marketing and technology experts, CrescoData works to provide cutting-edge service to clients needing data feed creation, data import, API creation, and other platforms. Anna Trybocka is the CEO and founding partner of the business, which is headquartered in Singapore. She is among the pioneers who are bringing commerce cloud to the region using new age technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Hooi Ling Tan, Grab, Singapore
At the age of 33, Hooi Ling Tan is the co-founder of Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing startup Grab, which recently became the region’s first decacorn. From being a reluctant taxi user to driving operations for the region’s biggest ride-sharing platform, Hooi Ling’s story is an inspiration.
Kaikai Yang, Energo Labs, China & Southeast Asia
Co-founder and COO at Energo Labs, Kaikai Yang is known as a digital hero for bringing blockchain and energy together with the help of technology. She is also often referred to as a trailblazer female entrepreneur in Southeast Asia. Kaikai started this company with a vision to help provide energy to rural areas and stabilise energy grids. Energo Labs allows users to choose their energy sources and is dedicated to building decentralised autonomous energy communities.
Kaikai shares her thoughts about clean energy in Southeast Asia
Women entrepreneurs are changing the tech startup scene, and making strong headway in Southeast Asia. Their passion, dedication and innovation are inspirational to everyone and these are but a highlight of the great female entrepreneurs in the region.
We’d like to leave you with this quote from Marilyn Monroe.
Give a woman the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world.