Asian Founders at Work
January 31st, 2020
Asia dominates global commerce as the 21st century presents new innovations and possibility. Despite its rise as a significant economic engine, there is still a glaring lack of business literature focusing on Asia, and specifically tech literature. Silicon Valley currently dominates the focus of books covering modern startup founders and the technology ecosystem.
Asian Founders at Work addresses this gap. Compiled by Ezra Ferraz and Gracy Fernandez, this book documents the most notable tech companies to arise from Southeast Asia, South Asia, and East Asia. These include so-called unicorns (companies whose valuation exceeds US$1 billion,) notable exits via acquisition and IPO, and newer startups shaking up the region’s traditional industries.
A small handful of the significant founders interviewed in this book include Maria Ressa, co-founder and CEO of social news network Rappler and Time 100 awardee (2018); Khailee Ng, managing partner of venture capital firm 500 Startups; Min Liang-Tan, the founder and CEO of gaming peripherals company Razer; Patrick Grove, who has taken five companies to initial public offering; Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO (Group) of OYO Homes and Hotels; and many, many more.
The stories of these founders is told in an intimate Q&A format established by the original Founders at Work, published by Apress in 2007, and is comprised of more than two years of research and interviewing. Co-author Gracy Fernandez believes the format lends itself well toward students, investors, and aspiring founders looking to learn more about successfully doing business in the region. “There are many headlines and feature stories about Asia’s top founders. The one-on-one interviews here go much further back, beginning when the founders had nothing but an idea. Getting the opportunity to hear how they built their company from scratch should be a treat for anyone looking to learn more about business in Asia.”
While some founder challenges are universal and cut across cultural and geographic lines, what is most valuable to learn about is how each founder solves problems unique to their market. Central to the thesis of this book is following founders as they navigate these decision points should accelerate their own learning curve - which co-author Ezra Ferraz personally experienced through the duration of compiling the interviews for Asian Founders at Work. Before the book’s completion, Ferraz was able to raise venture capital for his content marketing studio Ambidextr from John Orrock, the founder of Future Now Ventures.
“The founders profiled in the book were so candid that it becomes easy to pick and choose what you might apply to your own startup or company. From this view, their interviews become mini-lessons. After each one, you want to rush out the door and put similar tactics, strategies, and growth-hacks into action,” said Ferraz.
Asian Founders at Work is now available from Apress!