Also on the shortlist of the best

Also on the shortlist of the best
Alexis Horowitz-Burdick, founder of Luxola.

Alexis Horowitz-Burdick

32, American, married

Founder, Luxola, an online cosmetics portal, started in 2011.

"Working in start-ups was one of the most valuable experiences I gained on the path to starting my own company. I was the first hire at a start-up consulting company. I learnt a tonne about starting a company while simultaneously not taking on the same risk as starting my own. I would highly recommend this route to anyone - male or female - if they are thinking of starting their own venture!"

My wish: "I want to have employees who love working here and come excited to work every day, to offer challenging, rewarding work that everyone can be proud of."

Co-founder Roger Yuen of online social networking and fashion mall Clozette comments: "Luxola is in the right market segment. Beauty is a growth market. But e-commerce is challenging. It needs deep pockets. Luxola should use the US$10 million it raised last year to quickly expand into the region."

Koh Soo Boon

Married with two children

Founder and managing partner of global venture capital firm iGlobe Partners; set up in 1999.

"I enjoy mentoring. I've something to give and I can learn from young people with new ideas. Not all entrepreneurs are coachable. If they apply 50 per cent of my advice, that is good. They must be smart enough to select advice they can implement in their own start-ups."

My wish: "I hope iGlobe can help entrepreneurs to be successful and also make superior returns for our investors."

Executive chairman Philip Yeo of Spring Singapore comments: "I set up EDB Investments and Vertex Investments (of Singapore Technologies) at about the same time in the early 1980s.

Soo Boon joined Vertex Investments based in San Francisco where she learnt to be a venture capitalist in vibrant Silicon Valley. She had an established career at DBS extending loans to businesses. While loans and equity are different asset classes, the thinking is analogous: How good is the business or venture? How likely is the business able to pay back a loan (or earn a return on equity investment)? Loan officers deal with the known; VCs must attempt to see and characterise the unknown."

Jenny Lee

42, married

Managing partner, venture capital firm GGV Capital; founded in 2000, with offices in Menlo Park, California, and Shanghai.

"Women who want to become venture capitalists need to understand that this business is highly meritocratic. It's a lonely and very competitive journey. This is not a career known for being warm and fuzzy. I often refer to it as a job that celebrates the survival of the fittest for the VC investors and for the start-up founders."

My wish: "I wish for every woman to find her calling in life and to do what makes her happy in areas that allow her to give full play to her interest, strengths and network."

Serial entrepreneur Ong Peng Tsin, who has founded and sold three tech start-ups, comments: "Jenny's network in China is superb. She knows the Who's Who in China like Mr Lei Jun, co-founder of smartphone maker Xiaomi. She has a sharp eye for picking good deals, works hard for entrepreneurs and thinks strategically. She is also able to put a global perspective in her China deals and exposes her firm's American portfolio to Asia."

Aileen Sim

30, single

Project manager, Airhelp, a US-based service for air travellers to get compensation.

"I package the technology into a product customers would want. I'm the customer advocate. I fight for the features that they must have. Nothing must hold up the product launch. So I've to say 'no' to the chief executive officer, the marketers and anyone else who wants to add more features because it'll delay the launch."

My wish: "For wannabe entrepreneurs, take baby steps. Spend your weekends working on it, make sketches of your ideas or write them down. They will crystallise your ideas, then you can step into entrepreneurship more confidentently." Investor Douglas Abrahms of local venture capital firm Expara: "She is a pioneer in virtual currencies. She founded virtual currency First Meta at a young age and took on a lot of responsibilities. Very motivated and driven."

Sidney Yee

47, married with two children

Senior vice-president, investment and spin-off management division, Exploit Technologies.

"My first job is as a mum and wife. I work long hours and I've business trips. But I've an understanding husband. I tell my two girls that Mama loves them but I can't have dinner with them some nights because of work meetings. And they get it."

My wish: "Husbands, children, loved ones and families should support their wives, daughters, sisters and girlfriends to become entrepreneurs."

ClearBridge Accelerator partner Steven Fang comments: "Despite her science training, Dr Yee worked tirelessly and for long hours on her start-up companies to grow them. This is a key measure of a successful entrepreneur: persistency and ability to learn new skills."


This article was first published on July 13, 2014.
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