Read up on the stellar successes of the entrepreneurial women who have catapulted Asia’s tech scene to even greater heights.
To the women on this list, You did it!
It is International Women’s Day today! To celebrate, we are here to recognise the great female tech entrepreneurs across Asia who have made a great impact on our regional ecosystem. Check out our comprehensive list of outstanding entrepreneurial role models:
Jean Liu, Didi Chuxing
Jean Liu is the President of Didi Chuxing, the biggest car-sharing and taxi-hailing service in China. Before her success in Didi Chuxing, Jean worked for Goldman Sachs for 12 years, becoming one of the youngest managing directors in the company’s history.
She entered Didi Chuxing when it was still Didi Dache, and coordinated the merger with Alibaba’s Kuaidi Dache. Didi Kuaidi would later go-on to rebrand itself to Didi Chuxing (and institute a new logo). Jean was a graduate of computer science at Peking University and holds a master’s degree for the same course in Harvard.
Gwendolyn Regina, Mashable
Gwendolyn Regina is Mashable’s Asia Pacific’s Director of Strategy and Business Development, focussing on the company’s expansion into the region.
She previously built and sold SGEntrepreneurs to Tech in Asia, served as a mentor at Polish tech startup incubator Gamma Rebels, was the Singapore curator for US-headquartered StartupDigest and the Singapore Ambassador for the Thousand Network, a leading global network of innovators under 30.
Gwen is an alumnae of the National University of Singapore, and has angel investments in Oddle.me and The Commissioned.
Roshni Mahtani, Tickled Media
Roshni Mahtani is the founder and CEO of Tickled Media, a content and community platform for parents in Asia. With a reach of over 6 million mothers monthly, Tickled Media has operations in several countries across Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and India.
Previously, Roshni founded the Female Founders Network, with over 700 female founders. Lastly, she also sits on the board of TIE Singapore, and is a mentor at JFDI and the Crib where she works with early stage start-ups.
Alexis Horowitz-Burdick, Luxola
Alexis Horowitz-Burdick is the founder and CEO of Luxola, a Singapore-based cosmetics e-commerce startup. She has successfully raised a total of US$15.6 million in four rounds of funding for Luxola, the last being a US$3 million round in May 2014 from F&H Fund Management and QueensBridge Venture Partners.
During July 2015, Luxola was acquired by LVMH-owned Sephora and appointed Alexis as the Managing Director at Sephora Digital SEA. Previously Alexis founded The Sweet Spot, a high-end e-commerce retailer, and served as the Director for the Frontier Strategy Group.
Jiawen Ngeow, Megafash
Jiawen Ngeow is the founder and CEO of Megafash, an O2O marketplace for independent retailer brands. According to a report from the Straits Times, Megafash carries more than 100 local and Asian brands, with many brands giving back to the community and producing socially responsible goods.
Before her work on Megafash, Jiawen co-founded several startups namely; Poached Magazine; Chic Kiss Love; and Fever Avenue, and is a graduate of NUS.
Ai Ching Goh, Piktochart
Ai Ching Goh is the CEO of Piktochart, a web app that allows people to make better yet easier visual designs. Previously she has dabbled in investment banking and worked as an Associate Media Manager at P&G.
Currently, Piktochart has an audience of 3.8 million users, with over 9 million infographics created. Ai Ching also graduated with a degree in Experimental Psychology from the University of Bristol.
Hooi Ling Tan, Grab
Hooi Ling Tan is the co-founder of Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing platform. With its recent rebranding at the start of the year, Grab has grown tremendously, expanding to about 21 countries compared to its MyTeksi days in the beginning.
Before her success at Grab, Hooi Ling was a McKinsey consultant and a graduate from Harvard Business School. She also previously worked at Salesforce as a Senior Director in Pricing Intelligence and Monetization.
Cheryl Yeoh, MaGIC
Cheryl Yeoh is the former Founding CEO of MaGIC, the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre. During her time at MaGIC, Cheryl created several initiatives that helped the Malaysian ecosystem such as the MaGIC Academy and the MaGIC Accelerator Program (MAP) to name a few.
Through her vision and execution, MaGIC was able to attract over 150 regional and global investors to listen to 50 MAP startup pitches. Before MaGIC, Cheryl co-founded Reclip.It, received several accolades, and was a mentor for the Founder Institute and Lean Startup Machine.
Lais de Oliviera, 8spaces and MaGIC
Lais de Oliviera is the founder at 8spaces, a platform that connects people through spaces. She is also a facilitator of the socio-cultural aspects of the MaGIC Accelerator Program (MAP). She also drives several projects such as confluence.city, serves at the curator for TheListKL and Startup Digest Malaysia. Previously she was a Startup Grind East Community Director and MaGIC’s Community Ambassador, with past projects in Zentrepreneur.com and mindvalleyinsights.com.
Maria Ressa, Rappler
Maria Ressa is the founder and CEO of Rappler, a popular news website in the Philippines. Even before Rappler, Maria has been a journalist in Asia for more than 25 years, most of them as CNN’s bureau chief in Manila then Jakarta.
In 2005, she headed the Philippines’ largest multi-platform news operations, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs. She also taught in her alma mater, Princeton University, as well as the University of the Philippines. She authored “Seeds of Terror” and “From Bin Laden to Facebook.”
Aisa Mijeno, SALt
Engineer Aisa Mijeno is the co-founder and CEO of SALt, a startup that attempts to create Sustainable Alternative Lighting solutions. Its first product, a saltwater lamp, has received both local and international attention as well as several awards.
Aisa is also both a member of Greenpeace Philippines and a faculty member of Engineering at De La Salle Lipa. She initially conceptualised SALt after observing the natives of the Butbut tribe rely only on kerosene lamps and moonlight to accomplish evening chores.
Valenice Balace, Peekawoo
Valenice Balace is the founder and CEO of Peekawoo, a Philippines-based gamified dating platform for millennials. Balace’s vision for Peekawoo is to bring traditional dating back to the local dating scene, and prides itself on creating a wholesome, fun, and safe dating app for its audiences.
Previously, Balace worked as a product manager in both Smart Communications and Voyager Innovations. She was recently featured in Forbes 30 under 30 in Asia for Consumer Tech.
Minette Navarrete, Kickstart Ventures
Minette Navarrete is Vice-Chairman and President of Kickstart Ventures, Inc., the corporate venture capital subsidiary of Globe Telecom, one of the major provider of telecommunications services in the Philippines. She is a member of the Ayala Corporation’s Innovation Advisory Council, and of Globe’s Innovation Advisory Board.
Navarrete is a Senior Vice President at Globe Telecom, focusing on New Business, and a member of the Board of Directors of AdSpark, Globe’s wholly-owned digital advertising subsidiary. Minette has held a number of CEO/COO positions in various industries, ranging from scrappy Philippine startups to iconic global companies.
Reese Fernandez-Ruiz, Rags2Riches
Reese Fernandez-Ruiz is the President and Founding Partner of Rags2Riches, Inc., a fashion and design house that creates urban artisanal home and fashion masterpieces with local community artisans.
To date, Reese and the Rags2Riches team has built an eco-ethical, high value fashion and home brand in the Philippines that has trained 900 Filipino community-based artisans with the vision to lift their families out of poverty. She has received numerous recognitions for Rags2Riches, one of them being the youngest recipient in history of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service for 2010.
Mariliese Tan, BeamAndGo
Mariliese Tan is the co-founder of BeamAndGo, a digital gift certificate platform that provides overseas Filipino workers financial control with the remittances they send back home. Along with fellow co-founder Jonathan Chua, Mariliese launched BeamAndGo in 2014 and went from zero to more than 80,000 users in a year. Previously, she studied and worked in Canada and Singapore, and is a Founders Institute Graduate.
Shannon Kalayanamitr, Orami
Shannon Kalayanamitr is the founder and Group CMO of Indonesia’s Orami, one of the largest women-focussed e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia, formerly known as MoxyBilna.
Previously, Shannon worked in business development roles in different industries, ranging from investment banking with Lehman Brothers and PwC, media with Singha Beer and building a digital TV station from scratch, and to social development with tsunami humanitarian work.
Shinta W. Dhanuwardoyo, bubu.com and Nusantara Ventures
As the founder of Bubu.com in 1996, Shinta Dhanuwardoyo took control of one of the first internet companies in Indonesia that has since evolved into Indonesia’s leading digital media agencies.
Currently, Dhanuqardoyo is the Head of Permanent Committee for Online and Print Media at The Indonesian Chambers of Commerce, the Co-Chair for Indonesia Mobile Marketing Association, and a managing partner at Nusantara Ventures, a technology venture capital fund. Previously, Shinta was the CEO of a Telkom Group subsidiary that focuses on the most trusted and biggest e-commerce portal in Indonesia, plasa.com.
Diajeng Lestari, HijUp
Despite being in the biggest Muslim population in the world, Diajeng Lestari noticed that there is a gap in the market for Muslim women fashion needs, which led her to start Indonesia’s first Muslim women fashion e-commerce site HijUp in 2011. She was inspired by a Change Management course she took while studying in Universitas Indonesia, and she did mostly everything by herself when the company first began.
Ketut Sulistyawati, Somia Customer Experience
With over 9 years of experience in user research, strategy and design, Ketut Sulistyawati is the founder of Somia Customer Experience, a UX design consultancy based in Indonesia.
She previously worked for Dell Experience Design Group, Hewlett-Packard Global Design Studio, and Reading Room. Ketut received her Bachelor degree in Product Design and PhD in Human Factors from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She has led international user research and design activities, and contributed to award-winning products and websites.
Nancy Margried, Piksel Indonesia and Batik Fractal
Nancy Margried is an award-winning entrepreneur and TEDx speaker. In 2007, she and her team created Batik Fractal and jBatik Software to help modernise the process of designing batik patterns by using algorhitm.
The team had trained small batik manufacturers in rural Javanese areas to utilise the softwares, and they were able to encourage the younger generations to give batik-making a try with this new, high-tech process. Nancy is currently on the process of patenting the Batik Fractal and jBatik Softwares.
Cynthia Tenggara, Berrykitchen
Cynthia Tenggara started out her career as an employee at various companies, including Groupon Indonesia. She started out her entrepreneurship journey in 2012 to solve the challenge of helping professionals find convenient, healthy lunches that still tastes good.
Berrykitchen raised a US$1.25 million Series A from Sovereign’s Capital and East Ventures. She graduated from Pelita Harapan University in 2007.
Catherine Tan, Notey
Catherine Tan is the co-founder and CEO of Notey, a blog aggregator and discovery engine startup based in Hong Kong. The startup has since attracted USD 1.6 million in funding. Before starting Notey, Catherine worked as an investment banker for Barclays and Morgan Stanley for several years, and started Arch Community Outreach in 2013, a charity organisation for students and young adults.
Juliette Gimenez, Goxip
Juliette Gimenez is the co-founder and CEO of Goxip, a mobile-first app that allows users to search, discover and shop fashion through image recognition & celebrity style feeds. A serial entrepreneur and pre-IPO startup builder, Juliette was the founding member & Chief Revenue Officer at Cdiscount Thailand, a B2B & B2C ecommerce site which was listed on Nasdaq in 2014.
Previously, she was the vice president at ubuyibuy, a startup which was acquired by Groupon and got listed on Nasdaq in 2011. At ubuyibuy, Juliette helped in building the business, resulting in a gross revenue of USD 30 million within 11 months.
Melissa Guzy, Arbor Ventures
Melissa Guzy is the Founder and Managing Partner of Arbor Ventures. She has more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and as a venture investor in Asia and Silicon Valley.
Previously from 2001 to 2012, Melissa was a Managing Director and member of the Investment Committee at VantagePoint Capital Partners. Prior investments include Finisar, Pure Digital (acquired by Cisco), Oxford Semiconductor (acquired by PLX), and iWatt (acquired by Dialogics). Melissa sits on the board of DeMyst.data and Paidy. She has appeared as a guest lecturer on the venture capital industry at multiple universities, and received a Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Florida.
Esther Nguyen, POPS Worldwide
Esther Nguyen is the founder of POPS Worldwide, a leading digital media company in Vietnam. Currently, POPS Worldwide represents 90 percent of the music industry in Vietnam, as it is also the largest distributor and marketer of Vietnamese music worldwide.
Esther is also the founder of several startups, her first one being a beauty and cosmetic e-commerce platform founded in 1998. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California, and while taking a break from entrepreneurship, pursued a Juris Doctorate from Golden Gate University School of Law and is legally certified to practice law in the state of California.
Anisha Singh, mydala
Anisha Singh is the co-founder of mydala, a merchant marketing platform based out of Delhi that helps businesses reach the right set of consumers.
Previously, she founded Kinis Software Solutions in the US, providing digital content marketing solutions for the real estate and e-learning industry. She received her education in the US and worked for the Clinton Administration, helping women entrepreneurs raise funding for innovative women-led businesses.
Sairee Chahal, SHEROES
A serial entrepreneur, Sairee Chahal founded SHEROES in early 2014, serving as a jobs and career community for women. SHEROES managed to close an angel round of USS$ 760,000 from Quintillion Media, 500 Startups and several notable individuals such as PayTM’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Flipkart’s Binny Bansal.
She also co-founded Fleximoms, India’s go to for flexible jobs and returning professionals. Previously, she co-founded a consulting firm that works with SMEs called SAITA Consulting.
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