Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020’s Fintech Superstars
April 6, 2020
Published in Fintech News Singapore
In keeping with annual tradition, Forbes has released its annual 30 Under 30 Asia list, which features 300 disruptors, innovators and entrepreneurs from the region, all under the age of 30.
This year list sees 25 fintech professionals in the list compared to last year which saw 19 people make the cut
The following are the 25 fintech and finance superstars who made the cut:
Ryan Chew, 28 | Yi Ming Ng, 28, Singapore
Managing Partners, Tribe
Ryan Chew and Yi Ming Ng are cofounders and managing partners of Tribe Accelerator, the first blockchain accelerator supported by the Singaporean government. The accelerator raised more than $30 million since its launch in 2018, backed by the likes of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Temasek, Citibank, IBM and Intel. So far, it has invested in 19 startups from two batches with a combined value of more than $300 million. Tribe also runs a blockchain academy with scholarships available to developers across Southeast Asia.
Ajeesh Achuthan, 28, India
Ajeesh Achuthan is cofounder and CTO of Open, which helps businesses streamline their financial operations with its integrated platform for accounting and banking. Since its launch in 2017, Open says it has processed more than $10 billion worth of transactions with 350,000 businesses using the platform. In June last year, Open raised $30 million in Series B funding led by New York-based tech investment firm Tiger Global. Before starting Open, Achuthan cofounded fintech startup Zwitch in 2012, which was later acquired by Indian online payments company Citrus Payment Solutions in 2015.
Anderson Sumarli, 25 | Yada Piyajomkwan, 27, Indonesia
As M.B.A. classmates at Stanford, Anderson Sumarli and Yada Piyajomkwan launched Ajaib, a zero-commission investing platform targeting first-time Millennial investors in Indonesia, with the goal of increasing financial inclusion. Ajaib claims to be responsible for one-fifth of all new retail investors in Indonesia in 2019. A graduate of Y Combinator, the company has raised $2.1 million in funding from SoftBank, Insignia Ventures and Alpha JWC.
Hilfi Alkaff, 27, Indonesia
Hilfi Alkaff dropped out of his computer science Ph.D. program to join Silicon Valley startups Sift Science and Quora. He then returned to his native Indonesia to cofound his own startup, OY! Indonesia, a wallet aggregator for easier payments and financial management. It integrates with more than 100 banks and offers various payment solutions, including free interbank transfers in Indonesia, a popular feature in a country notorious for its expensive interbank transfer fees. Alkaff received his B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from UC Berkeley and an M.Sc. degree in computer science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Rohit Gajbhiye, 30, India
Rohit Gajbhiye is the founder and CEO of Financepeer, which graduated from Google’s Launchpad Accelerator India last year. The startup helps students pay school fees for the full academic year upfront in one installment, while students or their parents pay back Financepeer in monthly installments at zero interest and cost. Gajbhiye says Financepeer helped more than 750,000 students across more than 500 schools in India. By next year, it is aiming to help 2.5 million students from 1,800 schools. Gajbhiye holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay.
Michiteru Goto, 27, Japan
Payme operates an instant wage-payment app that allows workers to receive up to 70% of their salaries at any time, instead of waiting until the end of the month, to help cope with sudden expenses. The app has 200,000 users and 400 companies that also use the app to reduce their payroll processing costs. The startup raised $10.5 million in funding since its launch in 2017 and won the Nikkei FinTech Startups Award in 2018.
Arjun Ahluwalia, 27 | Adriel Maniego, 26, India
Cofounders, Jai Kisan
Arjun Ahluwalia and Adriel Maniego quit their high-paying finance jobs in the U.S. and moved to an Indian village to start Jai Kisan, a fintech platform that helps borrowers in rural India get credit. Since its launch in April 2019, Jai Kisan has included more than 10,000 farmers across four states and partnered with five financial institutions. Along the way it has gained international recognition from IFC, ADB, Visa, Accion, NASSCOM, among others. Jai Kisan has raised $2 million from VCs and family offices.
Zac Liew, 28, Malaysia
Zac Liew is cofounder and CEO of Curlec. The fintech startup helps SMEs overlooked by traditional banks collect recurring payments with its automated platform, replacing manual methods like cash, checks or credit cards. Since its launch in 2017, Curlec says it has processed $50 million in transactions and more than 300 businesses currently use its platform, including SMEs, large companies and other fintech companies like Funding Societies and StashAway. The startup is backed by VC firms 500 Startups and Captii Ventures. Before starting Curlec, Liew was an analyst at Barclays in London.
Chester Szeen, 24 | Teresa Chan, 24, Hong Kong
Chester Szeen and Teresa Chan are the cofounders of Mellow. The Hong Kong-based startup operates a personal finance and digital payment app, which is connected to a Mastercard debit card, to help children learn about money management, such as saving toward a goal and keeping track of spending. Last year, it was one of 18 graduates from AppWorks, an AI and blockchain-focused accelerator in Taiwan. In 2019, it was named as one of the 12 top startups of Jumpstarter, a not-for-profit initiative curated by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund in Hong Kong. Mellow is supported by Cyberport, Accenture, the Japanese government, Mizuho Bank and New World Development.
Maxwell Meyer, 29, Thailand
Harvard alum and former McKinsey analyst Maxwell Meyer is cofounder and CEO of Masii.com. The website compares financial products such as credit cards, car insurance and personal loans to help users make better financial decisions. Meyer says more than 500,000 people use the platform each month and has made 6 million comparisons since its launch in 2015. The startup raised more than $5 million so far, including $2.43 million in a Series A round led by Thai conglomerate B.Grimm in 2018. Last year, Masii.com was named one of 50 emerging fintech companies globally by KPMG and Australian investment firm H2 Ventures.
Huy Nghiem, 28, Vietnam
Huy Nghiem is a Vietnamese-Australian who quit his finance job in Australia and returned to Vietnam to start Finhay, a micro-investment platform for Millennials, in 2017. Nghiem envisions Finhay as a one-stop solution where customers can manage their wealth seamlessly. It recommends multiple micro-financial products including saving, investment and insurance based on the customer’s personal information and risk assessment. The customers can then start building their wealth through Finhay with as little as $3. Finhay has received seven-figure funding from investors such as Insignia Venture Partners, H2 Ventures and Acorns cofounder Jeffrey Cruttenden.
Gaurav Kunwar, 28 | Harsh Pokharna, 28 | Aditya Prasad, 26, India
Three college friends — Gaurav Kunwar, Harsh Pokharna, and Aditya Prasad — founded in 2017 OkCredit, a book-keeping app for micro and small businesses which traditionally have maintained their accounts in handwritten ledgers. They have 6 million active monthly users who made 80 million entries in the app in January. The trio made it to Y Combinator in 2018. After a Series B financing round last year, OkCredit has raised a total of $83 million, including from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Tiger Global.
Francis Plaza, 26, Philippines
Francis Plaza is cofounder and CEO of Phillipine-based PayMongo, an online payments processing platform. In September last year, just a few months after it graduated from Y Combinator and launched, the startup raised $2.7 million in seed funding from PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, San Francisco-based VC firm Founders Fund and fintech unicorn Stripe. Before starting PayMongo, Plaza was a software engineer at Oracle and cofounded online marketplace Muber. He graduated from MIT with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering. He was admitted to the top institution when he was just 16 years old.
Andy Chan, 28 | Winston Wong, 28, Hong Kong
Founded in 2016, Qupital aims to provide financing to SMEs that are underserved by traditional banking institutions. The Hong Kong-based startup offers short-term lending and liquidity to companies and matches them with investors interested in covering the loan. Qupital claims to have funded loans and business invoices worth more than HK$1 billion (about $130 million). In March 2019, it raised $15 million in a Series A round of financing led by Chinese wealth and asset manager CreditEase FinTech Investment Fund. Its investors also include the Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund and Chinese VC firm Gobi Partners.
Nick Williams, 28 | Tristan Cole, 21, Australia
Nick Williams and Tristan Cole are the cofounders and co-CEOs of Sempo, a blockchain-based cash transfer platform for NGOs to efficiently deploy cash-aid programs to people affected by humanitarian crises. The platform also does beneficiary identification, cash disbursement and program monitoring, allowing NGOs to save precious resources and time by using a single platform. Since launching in 2017, Sempo says its platform helped more than 50,000 people in Kenya, Vanuatu, Iraqi Kurdistan and refugee camps on the Syrian border. By daily users, the startup says its platform is one of the five most used finance applications on the Ethereum blockchain.
Ankit Singh, 29, India
Ankit Singh is a director at Wibmo, a payment processing services company based in Cupertino but mostly operating in India. At Wibmo, Singh is building a way for Indian workers to receive their pay for the days they worked or tasks completed, instead of waiting for their salary at the end of the month, thereby improving their financial freedom. This works by Wibmo paying the workers early and then their employers paying back Wibmo at a later date, allowing the businesses to improve their working capital. Singh joined Wibmo in 2017 after the company acquired Mypoolin, a payment technology startup he cofounded in 2014.
Joshua Smith, 29, Malaysia
Joshua Smith is cofounder and CTO of MyPay, an integrated online platform for payments to government agencies. Since its full launch in August last year, users can pay fines, bail and student loans to three of the 10 government agencies in Malaysia. So far, MyPay has more than 100,000 users, including 6,000 monthly active users. Before working on MyPay in 2018, Smith was an analytics lead at Uber, technology consultant at Accenture and an analyst at Citi.