Entrepreneur

14 M’sians Who Were Recognised By Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia In 2020, & Why They Deserve It

Author’s Blurb: It’s always interesting to see which young Malaysians make it to the list of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia, since the lineup changes every year. It’s nice to see the young people who are driving Malaysia’s economy forward being recognised for their efforts.

Forbes has released its 30 Under 30 Asia 2020 list, and out of 300 outstanding individuals and entrepreneurs, there are 14 Malaysian individuals in total.

They come from different professional backgrounds, with the majority on the list being from the finance and venture capital sector.

Adrian Hia, Investment Director at Kairous Capital

Image Credit: Forbes

At age 27, Adrian is the investment director at Kairous Capital, a VC firm that invests in Greater China and Southeast Asia with about US$50 million in assets under management.

Trained as a lawyer, he joined Kairous Capital in 2015 as one of its early employees. His notable investments include Malaysian parking payment app JomParking, which he helped expand into Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand and the Middle East.

He also led Kairous Capital’s investment in SkinRun, a Chinese medtech startup, and he said that he helped turn it profitable in only six months.

He’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Finance & Venture Capital.

Anja Chong, Short Track Speed Skater

Image Credit: Anja’s IG

Aged 26, Anja has been dubbed Malaysia’s ‘Ice Queen’ after winning four gold medals in speed skating at the Southeast Asia Games in 2017 and 2019.

She’s also a law graduate from the University of Nottingham and is passionate about empowering women and the disempowered.

Hence, she founded ‘Skate to Dream’ a program to train and fund intellectually disabled athletes to compete at the Special Olympics.

She’s also no stranger to the entrepreneurial scene, heading business development at a trust company called Portcullis Trust Singapore, and founding ecommerce lifestyle company Alo Potentia, which has the dual mission of sustainability and growing a community of empowered women.

She’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Entertainment & Sports.

Arif Tukiman, CEO of RunCloud

Image Credit: Arif’s LinkedIn

Arif is 28 and hails from JB. He’s the co-founder and CEO of RunCloud, a centralised control panel that helps deploy, configure, manage and monitor cloud servers.

Since its launch in 2016, the startup is now managing more than 220,000 web applications from over 100 countries around the world including the US, UK, and India.

RunCloud also won the Malaysia leg of the Startup World Cup in 2018.

He’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Enterprise Technology.

Ashiwin Vadiveloo, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Murdoch University, Australia

Image Credit: Forbes

29 years old this year, Ashiwin is a postdoctoral research fellow at Murdoch University in Australia.

His work is focused on microalgae and how the unicellular species can be used for treatment of wastewater and sustainable production of bioenergy.

He received the BP Advancing Energy Scholarship in 2019, and he also won the BASF Asia Pacific PhD Challenge competition in 2015 with an innovative idea of adopting microalgae as an alternative source of fuel production.

He’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Healthcare & Science.

Jason Ooi, Co-founder of Agrain

Image Credit: The Yum List

Jason co-founded Agrain as a pivot from his previous concept, Hale, which served healthy meals without the benefit of customisation.

With Agrain, customers can build their meals from Western inspired recipes with an Asian twist and choose from the wide selection of carbs, proteins, supplements, toppings and dressings.

The brand currently has 5 outlets in Malaysia, and it plans to scale to 10 outlets and 60 pickup locations in 2020.

He’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: The Arts.

Jevin Singh and Mohamed Afzal, Co-founders of RAGE Coffee

Image Credit: Forbes

After Jevin dropped out of college due to a lack of funds and began driving for Uber, he began connecting with other drivers over a cup of coffee.

They shared the sentiment that finding reasonably priced, high quality coffee was difficult, and this inspired Jevin to start RAGE Coffee with Mohamed Afzal.

Leveraging on technology via their app, RAGE Coffee is able to determine its customers’ preferences and minimise waste to keep its coffee affordable.

It has 12 outlets in Malaysia, from which customers can pre-order coffee for pickup or request for delivery through the app.

They’re on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Retail & Ecommerce.

Joshua Smith, CTO of MyPay

Image Credit: MyPay

At 29, Joshua is the co-founder and CTO of MyPay, an integrated online platform for payments to government agencies.

Since its full launch in August 2019, users can pay fines, bail, and student loans to 3 of the 10 government agencies in Malaysia.

To date, MyPay has more than 100,000 users, 6,000 of which are monthly active users.

Prior to his role at MyPay, Joshua was an analytics lead at Uber, a technology consultant at Accenture, and an analyst at Citi.

He’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Finance & Venture Capital.

Lennise Ng and Aizat Rahim, Co-founders of Dropee

Image Credit: Forbes

Dropee was co-founded by Lennise Ng and Aizat Rahim in 2016. It’s a B2B online marketplace that connects retailers to wholesale suppliers to streamline orders and payments.

In 2019, they raised US$341,213 in seed round funding led by Vynn Capital.

At the moment, there are over 1,000 suppliers on Dropee’s platform including Unilever and Nestle, and they’ve served more than 3,000 local retailers.

They’re on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Retail & Ecommerce.

Nor ‘Phoenix’ Diana, Professional Wrestler at Malaysia Pro Wrestling

Image Credit: Forbes

She’s only 20, but she’s already widely known as Malaysia’s first hijab-wearing female pro wrestler.

Born Nor Diana, she calls herself Phoenix in the ring, and made history when she became the first female winner in July 2019 of the Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MyPW) Wrestlecon championship, attracting worldwide attention.

She had joined MyPW in 2015 with the support of her family and competed in her first match a mere few months later.

Following her MyPW victory, she quit her job to train in London last November with the UK’s Pro Wrestling: EVE.

Despite criticism from Malaysian netizens for fighting and for her tight costumes, her involvement in the sport has nonetheless sparked a growing interest in wrestling among young women in Malaysia.

She’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Entertainment & Sports.

Wan Hasifi Amin Wan Zaidon, Co-founder of Baituljannah

Image Credit: Wan Hasifi Amin’s LinkedIn

Initially a trained medical doctor, Wan Hasifi Amin made quite the pivot when he co-founded Baituljannah, a matchmaking website for Muslims which aims to help single Muslims find spouses through a halal, safe and convenient way.

Also acting as its Managing Director, he shared that the website has about 500,000 registered users and has helped around 25,000 Muslims across Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore find spouses since its 2017 launch.

In December 2019 they launched an Android app version of Baituljannah, and in April 2020 they’ll be launching an iOS version.

He’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Consumer Technology.

Yi Hern Chang, Founder of JomRun

Image Credit: Yi Hern’s LinkedIn

Yi Hern left Oxford University in the middle of his master’s degree in engineering to focus on his startup JomRun, which has grown to become the largest ticketing portal for sporting events in Malaysia.

Since its launch in 2017, 23-year old Yi Hern shared that JomRun has gained more than 1 million users and attracts about 150,000 people to its events on average every month.

JomRun has also organised and partnered with over 1,000 sporting events and is expanding regionally to Indonesia, Cambodia and Singapore.

Behind it all, his inspiration for JomRun was actually Pokémon Go after he saw how the mobile app helped millions of people across the globe leave their homes to walk around and exercise more.

He’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Consumer Technology.

Zac Liew, CEO and Co-founder of Curlec

Image Credit: Zac’s IG

Zac co-founded Curlec, a fintech startup, to help SMEs who were overlooked by traditional banks to collect recurring payments with its automated platform, replacing manual methods like cash, cheques or credit cards.

Since its launch in 2017, Curlec has processed US$50 million in transactions with over 300 businesses including SMEs, large companies and other fintech companies like Funding Societies and StashAway using its platform.

Prior to starting Curlec, Zac was an analyst at Barclays in London.

He’s on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia 2020: Finance & Venture Capital.

Bottom Line: I think a lot of younger folk in their early twenties think that hitting their thirties is akin to half of their lives gone. However, I feel that what this list reminds us of is that there’s so much more we could achieve before we hit the commemorative ‘landmark’ age of 30.

  • You can read more about the Malaysians in 2019’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list here.

Featured Image Credit: Dropee / Anja / RAGE Coffee

 

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