The next generation of Asia’s rising stars promises to build upon the progress of technology startups in the region, and surpass it. If you read the profiles of the winners in Forbes Asia’s list of millennial-age superstars, you’ll see what I mean.
These up and comers are in all kinds of new technologies that didn’t exist just a decade ago: mobile search, data analytics, social commerce, crowd-funding, ride-sharing mobile apps and the like. They span across the region, from large markets to small, to technologically advanced areas to less mature markets.
Many of them have raised substantial financing of more than $1 million for their new ventures (See Who’s Financing the Forbes Asia winners), some have reached profitability and all are growing so fast they can’t keep up – even at their young age of under 30.
The entrepreneurs behind these fast-rising startups all share that single-most important ingredient for success: a passion for what they are doing.
Take New Zealand social entrepreneur Shay Wright. He’s focused on helping the country’s Maori people get ahead by teaching their community leaders practical skills that can turn the tides for an entire community. It’s a model he wants to extend to impact the lives of 10 million indigenous people.
Then there’s Eric Chen, the founder of Hong Kong-based Vitargent, which has developed patents to test food safety by using glow-in-the-dark fish embryos that light up when toxics are detected.
Or how about Kevin Aluwi, the co-founder of G0-JEK, a motorcycle hailing app designed for Indonesia and built upon the Uber model.
Patsnap from Singapore is another inspiring example. The Singapore startup has developed a search and analytics engine that discovers patents, and the product is being used by IBM, MIT and thousands of customers nearly worldwide.
From Thailand comes Softbaked and its founder Lusarun Silpsrikul who has created a social commerce platform named Page365 for small regional merchants to sell across all social media channels and to track and fulfill orders online and by SMS messages.
Bluedot from Australia has a patented system for pinpointing precise locations over the smartphone down to the details of pedestrian walkways.
From India, there’s a host of intriguing startups such as AsaanJobs, which is helping to place entry-level workers in jobs in what was previously an unorganized labor market. Also from India is Pluss, an app that links up with pharmacies to deliver medicines on demand to customer doorsteps.
There are superstars too among the budding venture investors in the region. James Riney of 500 Startups is a good example. He’s inked 15 deals in Japan since joining the firm last October, and has done deals with VC legends such as Vinod Khosla. Allison Baum of Fresco Capital in Hong Kong and Tokyo stands out as well for her determination to get to Asia in the first place from Wall Street for making a difference with 12 investments in education technology.
This roster could go on and on, but please do check out Forbes Asia’s full list. It was great to contribute to this project.