Technology

Aaron Sarma

An experienced entrepreneur from the online travel industry who is now helping other startups raise their game

Profile


Aaron Sarma has never been shy to take on new tasks. Armed with his can-do attitude, he spent his early career helping to build the local operations of a deal site where he cut his teeth making deals with merchants and steadily growing the business. The entrepreneur bug bit Sarma during a company party when it dawned on him that despite working so hard, he was not in control of his own business. In 2013, Sarma began his journey as an entrepreneur and started Touristly, an online travel startup that allows travellers to book activities for their upcoming trips.

The company eventually attracted the attention of Airasia's Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and the two companies eventually inked a US$2.6 million deal in 2017. Touristly was eventually acquired by the airline and rebranded as Vidi, taken from the Latin word "to see". A year later, Vidi would be integrated into AirAsia.com where Sarma served as its chief operating officer.

Looking for the next challenge, Sarma left his role at Airasia and founded ScaleUp Malaysia together with several partners in 2019. The accelerator was Sarma's latest venture and it acts as his way of giving back to the startup community as he searches for the next generation of companies that have the potential to grow. Sarma says they target to invest in 50 companies and have invested into 21 already.

He links his success in life with the people he has met along the way. Sarma clearly does not believe in the concept of the self-made millionaire, but acknowledges that anything is possible with the help of an exceptional team.

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Sarma has worked all sorts of different jobs like helping bands organise gigs, producing a music album and dabbling in men's retail fashion.

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