These people are the ones who started making waves in the media industry long before it became cool to put your name on a startup brand.

Samantha Tay  |  Singapore
Published 2016-11-09 11:29:29

With the power and vast reach of the Internet, the jobs of the 21st century are no longer limited to the traditional desk-bound positions. It has also allowed for a new branch of business known as media entrepreneurship.

Media entrepreneurs are the ones creating waves on the net, thriving in Internet fame as they push out viral content, one post after another, to keep us updated about all the good things happening all around us.

But not everything is just about food and memes – some of these names below seek to educate through their work as well.

1. Brad Lau, ladyironchef

Image Credit: alvinology
Image Credit: alvinology

With over 650,000 followers on Instagram and over 430,000 on Facebook, Brad Lau uses his ladyironchef platform to share about food reviews and places he visits. But the journey of being an immensely popular food blogger, while seemingly rosy, has not always been smooth-sailing for Lau.

In 2010, a scandal emerged on the Internet when Lau was accused of demanding free food from restaurant Private Affairs and then later storming out refusing to pay for the meal. His words “I never pay for food in any restaurant” exploded across the Internet and within days, Lau was being witch-hunted by both angry netizens and Singapore’s press.

While some accusations were later debunked, Lau has come out of the incident strong, and still as popular as ever.

2. Karl Mak And Xiao Ming, SGAG

Image Credit: techinasia
Image Credit: techinasia

Founded in 2012 as the 9GAG of Singapore, the conception of SGAG was completely unplanned.

Instead, the idea to branch into media entrepreneurship started with the birth of the first Singaporean meme, also known as the curry sauce meme on the Internet.

Image Credit: SGAG
Image Credit: SGAG

And everything else is history. The surge in popularity of the curry sauce meme opened the floodgates for SGAG founders to push out other memes on the train breakdown of 2012 and the ah lian memes. Despite the burgeoning success of SGAG, the founders remained in shadows, until last year.

According to Karl Mak, the goal of SGAG is to produce quality content that entertains and engages Singaporeans on a daily basis.

Today, SGAG has a reach of more than 2 million Singaporeans per week across its 6 content distribution channels, with even the SCDF having fun, trolling alongside them on Twitter.

3. Bryan Choo, The Smart Local

Image Credit: adriantan
Image Credit: adriantan

Founder of The Smart Local (TSL) Bryan Choo wanted to build a Singaporean version of TripAdvisor or Yelp. This however proved difficult as they catered more to foreigners than Singaporeans. Recommendations were mainly written by the former as well. So instead, he came up with a portal for locals and written by locals.

Well, according to Choo in 2014, about 95% of it is.

An IT and finance student, Choo went into web development when one of his hobby websites (a gaming community portal) evolved into a business. When spoken to about his journey in setting up TSL, Choo attributes his success to the experience he gained from his past ventures, including their financial success which allowed him to start up TSL.

 4. Roshni Mahtani, theAsianparent / Female Founders Network

Image Credit: BBc
Image Credit: BBC

Roshni Mahtani is a the success story of how motherhood does not limit a woman.

In addition to founding Tickled Media, a publication company that carries theAsianparent.com and Indusparents.com, she is also the founder of Female Founders of, you guessed it, female entrepreneurs.

She is also an active advocate of children’s rights in India with her documentary “Untouchable: Children Of God“, a film that seeks to raise awareness of child prostitution. As a mumtrepreneur, Mahtani dedicates much of her success to the support to her family, who she describes as being able to “see my passion and determination to build what Tickled Media is today.”

5. Willis Wee, Tech in Asia

Image Credit: Willis Wee Linkedin
Image Credit: Willis Wee Linkedin

Willis Wee has always been an entrepreneur at heart.

Starting from age 10 when he started catching and selling grasshoppers and spiders to sell to his schoolmates in order to bolster his allowance. The experience sparked something in him, and at the ages of 15 and 16, he was selling trading cards and vacuum cleaners.

19 was when he founded his first business, a tuition centre called Friends! Learning Center and 6 years later, Tech in Asia. According to Wee, the aspects of Tech in Asia he is proudest of are the culture and mission of the company.

6. Seth Lui, Sethlui.com

Image Credit: Twitter
Image Credit: Twitter

Sethlui.com is a food, travel and nightlife blog with more than 850,000 unique views per month, making it one of the more successful blogs in Singapore. And there, founder Seth Lui serves as Chief food and nightlife writer, but that is not all that he does.

Lui also conducts online classes on leveraging on the power of social media, and how to conduct effective marketing for entrepreneurs – tips that he stands as being tested and proven successful.

And in more recent news, Seth Lui was also involved in The Western Co. saga that has exploded across the island. Unfortunately, the article has been taken down from sethlui.com, but you can still read about it here.

7. Timothy Ho, DollarsandSense

Image Credit: Timothy Ho Linkedin
Image Credit: Timothy Ho Linkedin

Timothy Ho is co-founder and managing editor of DollarsAndSense.sg, a personal finance website that aims to help people make better financial decisions. He is a big fan of empowering ordinary Singaporeans with the right financial knowledge so that they can make better and more educated decisions for themselves.

Aside from running DollarsAndSense, Timothy is also an avid follower of the FinTech space in Singapore. He enjoys sparring FinTech related ideas with other entreprenuers on what could work in Singapore.

8. Wy-lene Yap, High Net Worth

Image Credit: Wy-Lene Yap Linkedin
Image Credit: Wy-Lene Yap Linkedin

Wy-lene Yap is the founder as well as managing editor of High Net Worth, a website featuring the stories of prominent personalities as well as advising on investment opportunities.

As a Psychology student from NYU, Yap has always been fascinated by people’s stories, their dreams, and ultimately what are the motivations that drive them to pursue what they do. On her site, she also expresses espouses on how people’s identities can be warped or overly-sensationlised by the media. And as a result, the person can barely be a shadow of his or her true self.

This is what inspired her to set up hnworth.com, and though it, Yap hopes to connect with her interviewees and portray them for who they really are as a person.

9. Vinod Nair, MoneySmart

Image Credit: e27
Image Credit: e27

Vinod Nair is the founder of MoneySmart.sg, a financial blog about money matters in Singapore. Here, one can find articles on everyday matters such as overspending on shopping, and as well guides on how to buy your first house.

Nair’s story is one of how a true entrepreneur does not let failure defeat him.

His first venture, the now-defunct HomeSpace fell in 2008, but the barely-beaten Nair had MoneySmart.sg up and running in 2009. Now the site has an annual turnover of S$1million and is going stronger than ever.

Likening running a startup to surfing, Nair hopes that through MoneySmart.sg, he would be able to “educate and engage” people without sounding too much like a bank.

10. Daniel Yap, The Middle Ground

Image Credit: mumbrella
Image Credit: mumbrella

Relishing his role as publisher at The Middle Ground, Daniel Yap hopes to build a better Singapore of tomorrow. Yap is also an active writer on the website, penning his reflections about the latest goings-on in Singapore.

Yap traded his 12 years in PR for this position, a decision inspired by his desire to create a better world for his children, a place where people “are discerning of the news and of the flow of information (a REAL smart nation)“.

In addition, he hopes to improve the image that people have of the independent press to one that is “a viable and credible industry“. And that it is something the people actually need, just like Batman.

11. Daniel Ang, Daniel’s Food Diary

Image Credit: bites
Image Credit: bites

Blogging since 2008, Ang originally wanted to call his site The Food Diary, but a Twitter poll convinced him to use his name instead. The idea stuck, and in 2011, danielfooddiary.com was born. Today, Ang a.k.a. the “auntie killer“, has 187,000 followers on Instagram and over 300,000 on Facebook.

In order to prepare himself as a blogger, Ang took up classes in writing and photography. Other skills such as online marketing and SEO, however, he had pick up along the way on his own. And despite what people may think about freebies, blogging is not rosy as it seems. So what Ang does, is to take both the comments and criticism he gets as gum – he can chew it, but they are not for swallowing.

Ang is well-aware that blogging is not something that can bring in the big money. Instead, he hopes to leverage on his experience to publish a book or open a cafe in the future.

Making A Difference In Our Media Landscape

One picture at a time, on article at a time, these Singaporean media entrepreneurs are certainly making the Internet a more informative, but also interesting and fun place to be.

Featured Image Credit: Gadgetchef, YouTube, adriantan, inmoreau, Facebook, twitter, instanonymous, siaone, theonlinecitizen, danielfooddiary

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