Millennial Innovators … How young Asian entrepreneurs are creating the next generation of business … Canva to Coupang, Ninja Van and Razer, Yanolja and Zilingo

June 10, 2020

Canva is a graphic design platform that allows users to create social media graphics, presentations, posters and other visual content. It now has a $3.2 billion valuation and has over 20 million users across 190 countries.

Canva’s graphic-design templates help people create everything from posters and invites to business cards and web ads. The company’s core product is the increasingly flexible slideshow-maker Presentations, which now lets users edit slide decks on mobile devices (and optimize them for small screens); embed them with video, maps, and social media posts; and share them via live URLs.

Before Canva, creating a professional looking design was a complex process – you had to purchase expensive software; learn how to use it; purchase stock photography and fonts for the software; decide on a layout; slice images; receive photos and content via email; design something; upload and email the pdf only to find revisions needed to be made … and then finally be able to prepare your design for web or print.

Since launching in August 2013, Canva has been changing the way in which we communicate. Today our design tool has attracted over 15 million happy users across 190 countries, who have collectively created more than 1 billion designs. With an integrated marketplace that has both free and paid stock photography, fonts, illustrations, and thousands of templates; a paid subscription that offers the ability to set up a brand kit so users can save their brand colours, fonts and assets, and ensure consistency across their designs; and a print service that gives our users the ability to produce professional prints in a variety of formats and sizes, delivered straight to their doorstep – Canva is disrupting the way we design.

“We want to give presentations the interactivity that people have come to expect online,” says Melanie Perkins, cofounder and CEO. A new enterprise tool, released in the fall, lets companies set their own templates (with controls for colors, fonts, and logos), helping to maintain brand identity across large workforces. Today, Canva has more than 1 million people using its paid products, and more than 1 million presentations are created each week.

Melanie Perkin’s Canva … She founded a unicorn by 30, now she’s taking on the tech giants

Melanie Perkins’ $3.2 billion design platform, Canva, is one of the world’s most valuable female-led start-ups. CNBC met with the 32-year-old Australian entrepreneur in Sydney to find out how she’s taking on tech giants Microsoft and Adobe.

Ankiti Bose’s Zilingo … She’s set to become India’s first female unicorn founder – and she’s only in her 20s

27-year-old Ankiti Bose is on course to become India’s first female unicorn founder with her near-$1 billion fashion start-up Zilingo. Bose describes the business as a technology and commerce platform in the fashion industry. The Singapore headquartered startup was founded in 2015 by Bose and her colleague Dhruv Kapoor, and now has operations spanning across Asia and USA. Today, the company employs over 600 staff representing more than 20 different nationalities, and works with close to 50,000 partners across the fashion supply chain. The idea came from when Bose was on holiday in Bangkok and noticed that many of the small and medium-sized shops had no online presence. Zilingo, a play on the word “zillion”.

Carousell … Could this be Southeast Asia’s next $1 billion start-up?

Carousell was founded by Siu Rui, Lucas and Marcus back in August 2012 – giving its small business entrepreneurs the tools to solve problems- whether it’s decluttering or earning side income. “At Carousell, we believe in more than just buying and selling. We believe in the power of possibilities that people bring to the process. Through every buyer, seller and listing, we believe there’s opportunity beyond the transactional. Our mission is to inspire every person in the world to start selling and buying to make more possible for one another, on a global scale. We believe that technology is an enabler to solve meaningful problems at scale. We are crafting the most seamless user experience for people to sell what they don’t need and find what they need” says Rui. CNBC explores how the three 30-somethings are using Artificial Intelligence to fuel the rapid growth of their online marketplace, Carousell

Su Jin Lee’s Yanolja and the rise of the love hotel, South Korea’s latest $1 billion business

In the Korean language, Yanolja means “Hey, let’s play.” To be a successful entrepreneur, they say you’ve got to have passion. That’s something Su Jin Lee had in spades when he started his business. After all, he was going after an industry built on the stuff. Lee is the founder of Yanolja, an online accommodation bookings platform that has reinvigorated South Korea’s once dying love hotel industry and given birth to the country’s latest billion-dollar start-up. Love hotels are a type of short-term, pay-per-hour accommodation famed across the global for their exotic — and indeed erotic — stylings. The Korean entrepreneur started the company in Seoul in 2007 in a bid to modernize what he saw as a misrepresented market. It has since grown it into a multifaceted hospitality business with 32 million downloads and a major millennial following. But what has everyone so hot for love hotels? CNBC heads to Seoul to find out.

Bom Kim’s Coupang … How a Harvard dropout founded South Korea’s most valuable start-up

Bom Kim made history as the founder of Korea’s most valuable start-up and the country’s newest billionaire. Coupang is one of the largest and fastest-growing consumer internet companies in the world. Our innovative technologies and novel approach to mobile commerce and customer service have set a new standard for e-commerce in Korea and beyond. Powered by its proprietary technology infrastructure, Coupang offers the largest end-to-end fulfillment operation in Korea and one of the most revolutionary last-mile delivery services in the world. “We’re on a mission to revolutionize everyday lives for our customers, employees and partners. We solve problems no one has solved before to create a world where people ask, ‘How did we ever live without Coupang?’” CNBC met with the Coupang CEO in Seoul to hear how he went from a Harvard Business School dropout to the founder of Korea’s answer to Amazon.

Chang Wen Lai’s Ninja Van … He quit banking to build Southeast Asia’s next big thing

Chang Wen Lai’s express delivery service, Ninja Van, is tipped to be one of Southeast Asia’s next $1 billion unicorns. Launched in 2014, Ninja Van started operations in Singapore to address the logistics needs of customers by offering them options of tracking their parcels, receiving real-time updates and gaining access to alternative pickup points. Recognising that consumers across SEA want a consistent experience regardless of where they buy from (domestic and/or international) and clients want a singular access point into the region, we decided to expand our network to cover SEA. Our vision is to have a Ninja within reach of any consumer in Southeast Asia. “At Ninja Van, we exist to revolutionise logistics through our technology-enabled delivery systems in Southeast Asia (SEA). Combining our passion for harnessing cutting-edge technology solutions and our in-depth knowledge of e-commerce needs, we ensure that logistics is a hassle-free affair for our business partners and consumers. Just like real Ninjas, we are dependable and deliver on our promises to you” says Chang. CNBC met the 32-year-old CEO in Singapore to hear about his bold bet to go from trading floor to entrepreneur.

Min Liang Tan’s Razer … how a billionaire gamer built a pandemic-proof business

Business is booming for gaming giant Razer. Razer is the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers. The triple-headed snake trademark of Razer is one of the most recognized logos in the global gaming and esports communities. With a fan base that spans every continent, the company has designed and built the world’s largest gamer-focused ecosystem of hardware, software and services. Razer’s award-winning hardware includes high-performance gaming peripherals and Blade gaming laptops. Razer’s software platform, with over 70 million users, includes Razer Synapse (an Internet of Things platform), Razer Chroma™ (a proprietary RGB lighting technology system), and Razer Cortex (a game optimizer and launcher). In services, Razer Gold is one of the world’s largest virtual credit services for gamers, and Razer Fintech is one of the largest online-to-offline digital payment networks in SE Asia. Founded in 2005 and dual-headquartered in Irvine and Singapore, Razer has 18 offices worldwide. CNBC spoke to the company’s self-made billionaire co-founder, Min Liang Tan, to hear how he’s pivoting his brand in response — and what it could mean

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