Sep 15, 2017 Anni Gullichsen
Taavet Hinrikus, Co-founder of TransferWise
Founder and the brains behind TransferWise, one of the largest London-based fintech startups, Taavet Hinrikus has shown the world the power of harnessing technology and maximising its potential. His company allows consumers to transfer money from one country to another online, safely, securely and quickly without much hassle.
Adding on to his already-impressive-portfolio, Hinrikus served as an advisor to the Prime Minister of Estonia on the country’s digital agenda, a feat many could only dream of. Survival in this increasingly competitive and unforgiving world is indeed a challenge, let alone to succeed and build a name for oneself. Hinrikus has proved that the key to surviving and succeeding in the fintech era, defined as ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’, requires one to go beyond native cunning. In his speech at MoneyConf conference, Hinrikus said that “the competition is about cities” and one has to know what these cities are on the look for – talent and business, that is.
Hinrikus’ inspiration to found TransferWise based on his personal experience of going through the troublesome process of transferring money internationally with ridiculously high bank charges. While Hinrikus had no experience in the money transfer industry, he and Co-founder Kristo Käärmann took a leap of faith and decided to set up their own money transfer company. TransferWise started out as a crowdsourced currency exchange service, offering consumers a much cheaper alternative to banks. After a year in business, transactions through the company amounted to approximately €10 million.
Hinrikus’ story clearly shows that should entrepreneurs wish to succeed, they must first be willing to take their first leap of faith and venture into the industry.
Winston Utomo, Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of IDN Media
Indonesian news and entertainment company IDN Media was founded in 2014 by brothers Winston and William Utomo, with the goal of bringing positive impacts through content to Millennials and Gen Z members. The genesis of the company was when the brothers noticed that as Millennials and the members of Gen Z (those born in the late 1990s) entered the mobile space and consumed content via social media, there was a paradigm shift in the media landscape: millennials rarely read the newspapers or watch television, instead they spend most of their time online using social media and messaging apps. IDN media was created as a media company to answer the needs of this modern audience.
Prior to founding IDN Media, Winston worked at Google in Singapore and St. John Capital in San Francisco. He graduated from University of Southern California, Los Angeles, for his Bachelor degree and Columbia University, New York, for his Master degree. The brothers Winston and William have also been ranked together in the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asian Media, Marketing and Advertising list.
Today, IDN Media attracts 13 million monthly visitors and 60 million in monthly page views. This number is only set to grow as the pace of Indonesia economic growth rises and the number of affluent millennials increases. Seems like by giving the new generation what they want, the brothers Utomo have hit the mother lode.
Shao-Ning Leigh Huang, Co-Founder of JobsCentral & Partner at Entrepreneur First
Shao-Ning Leigh Huang is a true multi-talent: she is an angel investor with 18 angel investments, a start up advisor and co-founder of Singapore’s popular job portal, JobsCentral.
Going back to the start of her entrepreneurship journey, in the year 2000, she co-founded JobsCentral group. The initially two-person team grew to a whopping 150-headed online recruitment company with reached to countries like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. 11 years later, the company was acquired by the American company CareerBuilder. After which, Huang remained in the company till June 2014, serving as Group Deputy CEO/ Singapore Managing Director.
Huang is also a huge supporter for empowering women in the workforce. Shortly after leaving JobsCentral, she launched a company 2MinutesToday in 2015. The platform shared the various success stories and lifehack videos for women, regardless of whether they are out working or stay at home mums.
Despite nowadays spending most of her time home with her four sons, Huang has stated that she will continue helping the community in everything possible. Since 2009, she has been an angel investor & mentor to many startups, sharing her experience and guidance. In July 2016 she became a consultant at EDIS Cares which aims to improve the literacy and development for the underprivileged children in Singapore. Furthermore, Huang has been a partner with Entrepreneur First since September 2016, mentoring deep tech start-ups and a managing partner with Hub Venture Fund, focusing on making pre-seed and seed level investments.
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