Profil Usahawan Pilihan
Ganesh Kumar Bangah
Co-Founder of MOL and
Group CEO of Friendster
Ganesh Kumar Bangah, 31, co-founder of MOL and group CEO of Friendster
HIS success story is almost legendary in Malaysia's field of information, communications and technology. He built MOL Access-Portal Berhad (MOL) from scratch to become one of the biggest online payment service providers in Asia with an annual revenue of RM320 million, over 500,000 physical payment channels across 75 countries, handling over five million transactions a month.
He was certified by the Malaysia Book of Records as the youngest chief executive of a public-listed company in Malaysia when he listed MOL on the Mesdaq market of Bursa Malaysia at 23. He won the JCI 2009 Creative Young Entrepreneur Award, the Pikom Technopreneur Excellence Award at the ICT Leadership Awards 2009, and is acknowledged by Society Magazine as one of the 100 people you must know in Asia.
Late last year, he again made headlines when he led MOL to take over social networking site Friendster.
"I've always wanted to be the Bill Gates of Malaysia. I saw him on television when I was a cybercafé operator in my teens in Johor. I told my boss then that I wanted to be the Bill Gates of Malaysia," he says with a laugh.
Having started early in business, Ganesh says one of the biggest obstacles was getting people to understand "the need to be crazy".
"The last thing I did was buy Friendster and everyone was asking me why. You must think far and see things for the value they can give you. Getting people to understand that you need to be a little crazy or to be different to be special, I think that's the hardest thing."
Being in business also means there is never really a day off.
"You will always be constantly thinking about how to do things better, faster, to innovate and create. It is very much a 24/7 'job'."
He also admits that it is never easy to handle change.
"Every time you list a company, de-list it, or buy another company, it is never easy in the beginning. But managing these changes, these jumps, pushed me to grow. Buying Friendster, for example, means that I really had to learn the American culture."
While it is heartening that many young Malaysians want to be entrepreneurs, he says they should not think in the short term.
"I think our entrepreneurs tend to do something for a couple of years, give up, and move on to something else. They have to realise that nothing worth doing is easy but if you keep at it, you become better at it and you will make it. Don't give up."