Serial entrepreneur Ganesh Kumar Bangah believes that the key to solving the world’s problems lies in the entrepreneurial spirit driving entrepreneurs.
“Entrepreneurship can be a very strong motivation or drive to solve the world’s problems. Every entrepreneur and start-up pitch deck will start with one of the world’s problems and how an entrepreneur then finds a solution to that problem,” said Ganesh.
“I believe that if we create more entrepreneurs, those entrepreneurs will be able to solve all of the world’s problems over time. And that’s what has been driving me ever since I first started my entrepreneurship journey.”
“If you want to be an entrepreneur, do it because you want to do something good for the world. If you see a problem, it is only natural for true entrepreneurs to feel a passion to actually solve that problem. Entrepreneurs are able to leverage their passion and ingenuity to create cost-effective, profitable solutions to those problems.”
Ganesh was speaking during the Julius Baer’s ‘True Connections’ podcast. It can be accessed here.
“When I started Commerce.Asia, what I wanted to do was to help local SMEs (small and medium enterprises) adopt e-commerce more effectively so that they can survive as the world becomes more digital. Similarly, when I invested in Netccentric, my purpose was to train more influencers across the region and help generate more income for them.” (more on these two emerging groups later. Ganesh is Executive Chairman at both Commerce.Asia and Netccentric.)
The calling to be the ‘Bill Gates of Malaysia’
Ganesh is no stranger to the entrepreneurial scene. The 42-year-old credits the start of his entrepreneurial journey to Microsoft’s Bill Gates, whom Ganesh had seen on TV when he was 17.
“I was actually working part-time in a cyber cafe at that time, just after my Form Five. And I told my boss, the owner of the cyber cafe, that I want to become the Bill Gates of Malaysia.”
Ganesh has since proven his business acumen, having made history by becoming Malaysia’s youngest CEO of a listed company at 23 years old and was also EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2012.
In addition, he was recognised as one of Asia’s most influential people according to Society Magazine 2015. He was also regarded as one of Southeast Asia’s Top 30 Tech Founders by Tech In Asia in 2016, and described as ‘one of the most inspiring Malaysian technology entrepreneurs’ by Top 10 of Malaysia.
In 2020, Ganesh acquired and subsequently became the Executive Chairman of Australian-listed Netccentric Limited that owns the largest influencer platform in Malaysia, Nuffnang, with its community of 15,000 influencers throughout Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. Due to various acquisitions and innovative approaches for the digital growth industry, Netccentric has today become synonymous with being ‘Asia’s Pioneering Digital Growth Ecosystem’.
The Netccentric-Nuffnang Group acquisition followed on the heels of Ganesh having founded the Commerce.Asia Group in 2017.
An ‘All In One’ e-commerce ecosystem, Commerce.Asia has grown tremendously within the past four years, resulting in a database of over nine million SMEs across seven countries with over 71,000 sellers that sold over RM3.4 billion worth of products in 2020.
“When I started working as a young entrepreneur, I was more of a technology geek; I was a Microsoft Certified Professional systems engineer, as we used to call it. That gave me the fundamental understanding of the building blocks of technology. And because of that, I was able to connect the dots between these different building blocks to create useful applications for end users.
“Over time, you start hiring people, and the people you hire tend to start doing that work. And I started becoming more of a visionary and strategist – looking into the future, and seeing how we could use all the building blocks that we have today to develop new solutions for the future that will be useful for consumers and end users.”
Learning from Sun Tzu’s ‘the Art of War’
Ganesh’s wealth of experience has allowed him to share his insights with budding entrepreneurs.
“I’m a big believer of Sun Tzu (writer of the Art of War). And Sun Tzu said: ‘If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.’ When you start a business, you need to understand your competitors in the field, your market, and find your product market fit.
“Firstly, you have to look at yourself or the leader of the business that you’re investing in or starting. You then have to look at the market or the environment, and how you could potentially capture the market. You also have to look at the timing as well.
“You need to start your business at the right time. For example, if you launched an e-commerce marketplace 15 years ago, it’s too early because the logistics infrastructure was not there to support it. If you launched an e-commerce marketplace 6 years ago in Southeast Asia, it may be the right time. If you launch an e-commerce marketplace today, it’s too late because the leaders are already there.”
These days, Ganesh views himself as a mentor for new entrepreneurs on the scene, a role he takes on with great passion.
“I enjoy helping entrepreneurs more than being an entrepreneur myself, to be honest. Being a member of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 Malaysia judging panel gave me an opportunity to see how the highest level of entrepreneurs have actually grown their businesses. Seeing different entrepreneurs, and how they build their business, how they grow, and how they pivot, has given me a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment – even happier sometimes than my own success.
“In fact, one of the proudest moments for me was when I saw the success of one of my staff, who was my intern about 11-12 years ago. He has since become a CEO of one of the affiliate marketting companies in Malaysia, building a business that became hugely successful, with $1 billion in volume. When I see successes of people that I have trained, whether an employee or an entrepreneur, that makes me very proud, because I had a part in that person’s success.”
Note: Ganesh’s ‘all in one’ e-commerce ecosystem, Commerce.Asia, is currently embarking on a growth-funding exercise ahead of an Initial Product Offering (IPO) in a local stock exchange within the next 24 months, a listing via a SPAC or a merger with a local or foreign listed company.
As mentioned in the article, the Commerce.Asia group has grown tremendously within the past four years, resulting in a database of over nine million SMEs across seven countries with over 71,000 sellers that sold over RM3.4 billion worth of products in 2020. A more comprehensive insight about the Commerce.Asia group can be found here.
Investors who are interested in participating in this growth-funding exercise may also find out more through Malaysia’s leading licensed equity crowdfunding platform, pitchIN at https://bit.ly/commerceasia-ecf.
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