Women entrepreneurs who’re making a difference through tech in Southeast Asia

Entrepreneurship and technology is generally dominated by males, giving many the perception that both are generally a ‘men’s field’. But they’re far from being right.

We are gradually we’re seeing women reigning at the top too.

A report in 2018 shows that 20 percent of the world’s technology field comprises of females. But it seems that women are gunning for top positions.

In the same year, Apple’s diversity report shows that 39 percent of its leaders under 30 were women.

With technology on the rise, it’s expected more women to fill up high level positions in the industry.

Here’s a look at women entrepreneurs who’re making it big in the Southeast Asian ecosystem.

Tan Hooi Ling, Grab

Grab is perhaps the most successful startup in Southeast Asia. It started as a small company that hails taxis for you, but it has become a massive ride-hailing service with 2.8 million drivers.

Many people think that Anthony Tan was the only one that started up Grab. But with out Tan Hooi Ling, the ride-hailing giant might have never even existed.

Hooi Ling received her education from Harvard Business School (HBS) where she was classmates with Anthony Tan. Together, they joined the HBS New Venture Competition in 2011 and pitched a “mobile app that connects taxi seekers directly with taxi drivers closest to their location in the chaotic Malaysian urban environment.”

They won US$25,000 for their idea which became their starting capital for Grab.

Hooi Ling worked with companies like consulting firm McKinsey & Company and Francisco-based software company Salesforce.

Now she is the COO of Grab and heads the product, human resources, and customer experience for the company.

Cheryl Yeoh, MaGIC

Cheryl Yeoh was the founding CEO of the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC), a government-funded agency that supports entrepreneurship in Malaysia and ASEAN.

She co-founded startups like CityPocket and Reclip.it before being headhunted as CEO of MaGIC by the Malaysian government.

Yeoh is also the founder of the #movingforward campaign which encourages venture capitalists to commit to a diverse, inclusive and harassment-free workplace.

She was listed in TIME magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year and a ‘Silence Breaker’ who spoke out against sexual harassment in the workplace.

Rachel de Villa, Cropital

Rachel de Villa is well known in the Philippines for using her programming skills to help farmers in her home country.

She developed Cropital in 2015, a crowdfunding platform that allows users to invest into farms or farmers to grow their crops. Users that invested will also get some returns when its harvest time ranging from 3 to 30 percent.

Just one year after starting up the company, de Villa was featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2016 for the Finance & Venture Capital category.

The company is now recognized and supported buy many countries including U.S., Netherlands, and Malaysia.

Josephine Chow, ShopBack

Josephine Chow is the co-founder of the ShopBack app, a service that unifies merchants and ecommerce platforms into one location. It also provides cashback deals when buying products from their listed providers.

Shopback was founded in 2014. Chow alongside her business partner Lai Shanru aimed to make the online purchasing easier and reward customers for spending.

Chow now leads the international expansion for the company which she helped grow to seven countries and bring in over 2,000 merchants.

As of 2020, Malaysian users have earned more than US$14.43 million worth in cashback and highest accumulated cashback earned by a single user is US$16,627.

Vivy Yusof, Fashion Valet

Vivy Yusof is the founder of Fashion Valet which she launched in 2010 together with her husband. Fashion Valet focuses on selling fashion apparels, shoes, and accessories.

It also offers garments for women, men, and kids from modest and contemporary to lingerie, accessories, shoes, and swimwear.

Yusof started with a capital of US$25,000 and managed to grow a company to carry over 150 brands.

From being just an online store in Malaysia, the brand now operates in 15 countries including Singapore, Brunei, U.K., U.S., the Middle East, and Australia.

National ’s Day happens on March 8, stay tuned to Mashable Southeast Asia as we will be listing down the locations around Southeast Asia where the marches will be held.

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