42 Youngsters from S’pore Got into Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia List, Including Founders of Our Grandfather Story

Forbes has just released its 2023 edition of its “30 Under 30 Asia List”. If you haven’t had the chance to check it, we sure hope your cousins did not make the list.

If not, it’ll be non-stop comparisons during the next Chinese New Year family gathering.

But jokes aside, it is a great honour that many Singaporeans have been featured on this eighth edition of the list. 42 locals, in fact, have been listed.

Of the 42 representatives from Singapore, not all are Singaporeans. 18 are non-Singaporeans who are based in and operate from Singapore who made the list.

Here are some of the outstanding individuals from the 42 of them.

What Is the Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” List?

Before we go into the details to celebrate the achievements of those placed on the list, it would be good to understand the background of what this list is. For those expecting only 30 people to have made the list and are confused as to how 42 people from Singapore can be featured, we’re here to clear the confusion for you.

The “30 Under 30 Asia” list does not just feature 30 high-achievers. Instead, it features “300 young entrepreneurs, leaders and trailblazers across the Asia-Pacific region, all under the age of 30, who are effecting positive change and driving innovation amid global economic uncertainty and a challenging environment”.

There are a total of 30 notable individuals from a total of 10 categories, hence 300. The 10 categories are The Arts (Art & Style, Food & Drink); Entertainment & Sports; Finance & Venture Capital; Media, Marketing & Advertising; Retail & Ecommerce; Enterprise Technology; Industry, Manufacturing & Energy; Healthcare & Science; Social Impact and Consumer Technology.

Those who brought glory to our island span from categories such as The Arts (Art & Style, Food & Drink), Consumer Technology, Enterprise Technology, Healthcare & Science, Industry, Manufacturing & Engineering, Media, Marketing & Advertising, Social Impact, Retail & E-commerce, Finance & Venture Capital.

Apart from Singapore, the honourees on this year’s list also come from India, China, Japan and South Korea, Australia, Hong Kong, Cambodia and New Zealand. Some familiar names may include Gue-sung Cho (South Korean soccer player) and New Jeans (K-pop girl group from South Korea).

From the Entertainment & Sports Category

One of the notable individuals who made the list is singer Shye. She is the youngest person with Singapore-related connections to be listed on the “30 Under 30 Asia” list and part of the “Entertainment & Sports” category. The real name of this up-and-coming singer is Trinity Shye-Anne Brown.

Her Forbes profile indicates that she is a “self-taught electro-pop singer who experimented with Garageband before studying new genres and vocal techniques to develop her own style”. As of now, she has four LPs and multiple EPs to her name.

Shye is also not shy about being on the global stage. Apart from performing in Austin, Texas, at SXSW’s Tiger Den festival celebrating Asian artists, she also won Best New Act in Asia at the 2022 BandLab NME Awards.

Unfortunately, Shye cannot claim to be the youngest person on the list, as that title belongs to 12-year-old Amie Donald, an actress from New Zealand.

From the Finance & Venture Capital Category

Moving over to the “Finance & Venture Capital” category, Shauraya Bhutani is one to watch in this finance space. At the young age of 28, Bhutani has already established his roots in the Southeast Asian and Indian startup scene, including co-founding a boutique investment firm Capital Connect Advisors. He is also a partner at an “early-stage micro-VC” with seven-figure sums in commitments from several family offices in India.

Another talented individual who made it in the same category as Bhutani is Christopher Choo. Choo, who is 29 years old, founded Qashier, a “smart point of sale solution for restaurants and retailers”. The platform enables end-to-end payments, which allows merchants to access over 15 payment methods easily. On top of that, the software platform also provides features for merchants to manage their operations and digitalise their business.

At present, Qashier serves over 5,000 customers in four regions, including Singapore and Thailand. The business is backed by investors from several investors, including Cocoon Capital and Antler.

The third individual on the list with ties to Singapore is Vinay Palathinkal, who is 28 years old. He is based in Singapore as a venture partner at The Fintech Fund. As part of his work, he led investments in Southeast Asia for the US-headquartered venture capital fund.

From the Enterprise Technology Category

Continuing in the vein of technology, the “Enterprise Technology” category features the bulk of the 42 individuals.

Amongst those listed are Aravind Kandiah and Charles Wong, the co-founders of Bifrost AI. Kandiah is 29, while Wong is 28. Bifrost AI combines generative AI and synthetic data to create 3D worlds at scale. Some of the users include simulating “real-life scenarios such as traffic accidents and natural disasters”.

The founders envision that their technology can be used in a wide range of ways, including national defence and gaming. The former seems to be a very viable option, given that Bifrost AI is backed by heavyweight investors such as Wavemaker Partners and Cap Vista, which is the strategic investment branch of the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) in Singapore.

Also on the list are co-founders of Datature, Keechin Goh and Denzel Lee. Both of them are 29 years old. Datature is a software platform which allows “users without professional coding skills” to “build machine learning applications”. This does sound appeal to lower the barriers to the up-and-coming technology industry so that those with minimal expertise in the area can find it less daunting to enter a new space. Datature can also analyse data, label images and train algorithms automatically. Its investors include Openspace Ventures and January Capital.

Continuing the co-founder trend are Sagar Khatri and Vamsi Krishna, both 29 years old. They co-founded Multiplier, a global recruitment platform, back when the COVID-19 pandemic was in place in 2020. With remote working introduced as the new norm back then, Multiplier took flight when big-name clients such as Amazon and Uber used its services. In particular, Multiplier helped these companies to “find hires in as many as 160 countries, process payroll and comply with local tax as well as insurance regulations” through its technology.

From the Media, Marketing & Advertising Category

The individuals featured in this category may be familiar to some of you as they are the founders of the popular project, Our Grandfather Story. The individuals who made the list are Cheah Wenqi, Matthew Chew, and Ng Kai Yuan. Cheah is 27, while Chew and Ng are 29.

As some of you may be aware, Our Grandfather Story initially began as a photojournalism project but later evolved into the digital publishing company we now know and love. It focuses on bringing others the overlooked stories of individuals in Singapore and the Southeast Asia region.

Apart from Our Grandfather Story, the three of them, together with Carine Tan, created UNFOLD Asia. UNFOLD Asia is a “media group that seeks to entertain and educate Southeast Asian audiences through creative storytelling”. This parent company has under its portfolio brands such as Our Grandfather Story, Something Private, Ribbit (formerly O+), and nOm.

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From the Arts (Art & Style, Food & Drink) Category

This category includes 29-year-old co-founder of One Prawn & Co, Gwyneth Ang Yee Lyn. She had the drive to keep the local hawker culture alive and started this food establishment at a hawker centre before pivoting to a proper restaurant in 2022. The restaurant did well and earned a Michelin Bib Gourmand tag in 2022.

From the Consumer Technology Category

Ray Jang, the 28-year-old founder of Scenius, can proudly tell others that he made the list. This founder started the gaming platform to allow connections between gamers and to support game developers when they grow and “deeply engage their gaming communities”. The platform has most of its users from the USA, India and the Philippines.

From the Healthcare & Science Category

This category boasts a group of young co-founders. Castomize was the brainchild of Johannes Sunarko, Abel Teo and Jia Yee (Eleora) Teo. Sunarko is 25 years old, while the latter two are 27. They focus on innovating casts and other traditional orthopaedic devices to improve their comfort and convenience, which may enable faster healing. Welcome news indeed, for those who may be prone to breaking a bone or two.

From the Industry, Manufacturing & Engineering Category

In this category, the 28-year-old founder of Invigilo Technologies, Vishnu Saran, is featured. He set up Invigilo Technologies in 2020 to make construction safer. Much needed, given the prevalence of construction work around the world and the need to make construction conditions safer for those involved. The firm has since collaborated with local regulatory bodies, including the Housing & Development Board and the Land Transport Authority, “to promote the adoption of such technologies on high-risk construction sites”.

From the Social Impact Category

Samantha Thian, the 28-year-old founder of Seastainable, was recognised in this category. She founded the environmental services company back in 2017 to “reduce Singapore’s consumption of plastic straws”. This business has since expanded into “funding and offering grants for marine conservation projects and providing individuals options to offset their greenhouse gas emissions”. Thian also helped develop an app called Stridy which aims to “crowdsource and coordinate beach clean-ups”.

From the Retail & E-commerce Category

In this category sits the co-founder of Ai Palette, the 28-year-old Himanshu Upreti. The company provides analytics for food and beverage companies. It has also “raised a total of $5.5 million in funding, including a 2021 series A round of $4.4 million, co-led by pi Ventures and Exfinity Venture Partners”.