It affected their lives, ours and yours. Who said dreams can’t come true?
When we think about making a difference in the world, often, we think big. We dream big. And suddenly, the hurdles seem higher and the challenges feel almost impossible. It’s not wrong to dream or aim high, but it shouldn’t stop you from trying either.
If you like creating art or even apps, there are websites to help you get started on the side. If you like travelling but need some moolah to fund you while you appease your wanderlust, there are work and travel programs out there. Everyone starts small, somewhere – like these six people whom we’ve rounded up.
Theirs is of the online niche, and before their creations became a norm in our everyday Malaysian life, we probably didn’t think it was possible either. Get ready to feel inspired and full of pride for your fellow Malaysians who have made an impact on the online scene.
1. Jin Lim and Reuben Kang, JinnyboyTV
Photo: JinnyboyTV Facebook
These two probably don’t need much introduction, but the YouTube duo have been known by the masses as the Wong Fu Productions of Malaysia! From hilarious skits (ABUDEN!?) to heartwarming shorts (any Unfoldfans here?), it’s not hard to love what they’ve concocted – especially when they’ve added a local flavour (Only in Malaysia, My Generasi and all the lahs in the dialogue) into the mix. Not only have they become a YouTube Partner, but they’re also the second most subscribed YouTube Channel in Malaysia with over 387, 000 subscribers!
2. Timothy Tiah, co-founder of Nuffnang
Photo: @timothytiah Instagram, Nuffnang Facebook
Besides crafting one of the most romantic wedding proposals, Timothy is also the co-founder of ‘The World’s Leading Blog Advertising Community’ with his friend, Cheo Ming Shen. It all started when Timothy shared a joke blog with a friend; it became an inspiration and that eventually led to a bright business idea: Nuffnang.com was born and launched in 2007 with a small team, and was an instant hit. Seven years on, it has expanded to 7 countries, more than 1 million bloggers in its database and, of course, bigger (and many more) clients. The link between bloggers and advertisers has been established. In addition, Timothy and Ming Shen have also added more tech-based ventures under their holding company, Netccentric Pte Ltd (e.g. Churp Churp). We can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves next!
3. Mark Chang, founder of JobStreet.com
Everyone knows JobStreet.com. When someone talks about finding a job, more often than not, that’s one of the top recommended places to start looking. And yes, it’s the brainchild of a Malaysian: Mark Chang. The 16-year-old job portal has certainly come a long way, but so has Mark. He worked his way up and around in Kendall International, a US healthcare company, for six years before beginning his dot-com journey by establishing MOL Online Sdn Bhd (now MOL AccessPortal) in 1995. He sold it off to Tan Sri Vincent Tan, the CEO of Berjaya Group, for $3.2 million and started JobStreet.com in 1997 with a starting capital of $2.6 million. It has since expanded regionally and is Southeast Asia’s largest online employment company.
4. Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan, founders of MyTeksi
Photo: The Start-Up Asia @ YouTube, LinkedIn
MyTeksi was originally just an idea and a submission for the annual Harvard Business School business plan competition by two Malaysian students pursuing their MBAs in 2011. It won second place and launched that year itself, becoming the first in Malaysia to use smartphone-based technologies for taxi booking and dispatch. Of course, things only began to propel after receiving a grant of RM150,000 in 2012, according to MyTeksi Co-Founder and General Manager, Adelene Foo. Needless to say, grabbing a cab has never been easier and now comes with a better sense of security. The local startup has since expanded to Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam under the name GrabTaxi.
5. Khailee Ng, founder of SAYS.com
How many of you have caught up with the latest trending news on SAYS.com (we’ve featured their office before as one of the coolest to work in!)? Well, you have this man as one of the people to thank for this social news network. Besides sporting crazy awesome hair, he’s also the guy who co-founded Groupsmore, which he later sold to Groupon to become Groupon Malaysia. As for SAYS.com, it eventually merged with Catcha Media in a deal worth RM60 million to form a new company called Rev Asia. All of this within four to five years of his career as an entrepreneur. Khailee is now a Venture Partner at 500 Startups, investing in and mentoring the next generation of promising startups in Southeast Asia.
6. Vivy Sofinas and Fadzarudin Anuar, founders of Fashion Valet
Photo: @vivyyusof Instagram
Sure, blogshops have existed for a really long time, but an online fashion store serving as a marketplace where several shops and local designers can come together? FashionValet was probably the first to successfully do it in Malaysia. The husband and wife tag team was initially inspired by the online shopping culture when they were in London (in particular, ASOS) that when they returned to KL, the idea didn’t really leave them. In 2010, they decided to give it a shot with an initial capital of RM100,000, a three-man team (there was a third partner involved) and only 10 labels; FashionValet was born. Today, the store has grown into a strong team of 20 and handles over 200 brands!
Source: Respective companies’ websites, TimothyTiah.com, Forbes.com, DigitalMalaysia.my, TheStar.com.my, LinkedIn, VulcanPost.com, Crunchbase.com, NST.com.my, TheEdgeMalaysia.com