If you were to ask anyone in the Malaysian startup scene, there is a good chance the name Ganesh Kumar Bangah would ring a bell. The serial entrepreneur started his first tech business, MOL Global, in 2000, at 20, with a backing of RM2 million from Berjaya Corporation’s Tan Sri Vincent Tan. Three years later, MOL was listed on the Malaysian Stock Exchange, making him the youngest chief executive officer of a public listed company in Malaysia.
Ganesh, who is often referred to as the Bill Gates of Malaysia, was also named the Ernst & Young Technology Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012. He would go on to serve as chairman of PIKOM, the National Tech Association of Malaysia, from 2017 to 2019.
Ganesh prides himself as a visionary who is able to see future trends and invests in them today. He says MOL Global was way ahead of its time as it was facilitating digital payments and had an e-wallet back in the early 2000s. Essentially, MOL was a fintech company long before the term even caught on, he declares.
He served as MOL’s CEO for 15 years until the company was acquired by the Singaporean gaming lifestyle brand Razer in 2015. He subsequently turned his attention to his next venture, Commerce.Asia, an e-commerce ecosystem builder with the goal of enabling brands and merchants to succeed online.
He paid extra attention to e-commerce because the industry had reached an inflection point, and it would continue to grow exponentially. It turned out to be a good decision as Malaysia’s e-commerce market was estimated to have grown 25 per cent in 2020, and it is projected to make up the majority of retail transactions in the future.
To illustrate the positive impact e-commerce players have experienced in the past year, Ganesh cites the example of a bedding company that saw its online revenue balloon from RM50,000 a month to RM2.5 million a month in the course of 18 months.
But local SMEs need a lot of help to increase and capitalise on their online presence. This is one of the main reasons why Ganesh founded Commerce.Asia. “The Commerce.Asia group combines all the technology components together with managed services that provide a single one-stop solution for brands and businesses to sell—and succeed—online,” says Ganesh.