These founders and CEOs on Asia’s Most Influential list all wanted to address a nagging frustration in their lives. By streamlining the process of booking a flight or sending a package and even introducing an electric scooter system for the city, they’ve established some of the most innovative and successful tech companies in the world and, in the process, made Asia move faster, easier and greener.
Ferry Unardi, Indonesia
Traveloka was born as an answer to a frustrating problem. Ferry Unardi, who was taking up his MBA at Harvard Business School a decade ago, wanted a less complicated way to find flights between the US and his home country of Indonesia—so he created the solution, co-founding Traveloka as a travel booking platform, in 2012.
Now, his big idea is Indonesia’s brightest tech unicorn with a multi-billion valuation. Its decade of success in Southeast Asia is marked by tremendous growth with the travel startup evolving into a lifestyle superapp. Apart from online ticketing and hotel booking services (it has the largest inventory of accommodations in Southeast Asia), Traveloka now provides access to lifestyle activities and financial services to 40 million monthly users.
At a fireside chat with East Ventures, one of Traveloka’s investors, Unardi shared his lead-by-example mindset. In the early days of Traveloka, he said, he only asked for a US$100 monthly salary to direct more resources to the company. “It starts with the founders. Every single thing that you gets imitated and amplified,” he said.