30 Under 30 Asia: Meet The Entrepreneurs Developing New Consumer Technologies

Harsh Dalal is making a splash when he is just 19.

The cofounder and CEO of Team Labs, a Singapore-based software company that provides tools to help individuals and developers build digital products such as apps and graphics in the cloud, manages 120 employees across six countries.

When Dalal was just 13, he and four teenage app developers in Norway, Russia and the U.S. he met online started software company Team Labs for kicks. But the group’s focus gradually became more serious. In September 2019, Team Labs raised $8 million from investors, and, though the other cofounders have moved on, Dalal serves as CEO while he earns his diploma at Singapore Polytechnic.

Team Labs now builds collaborative software development tools, including group chat, customer relationship managers and graphic design platforms. After redesigning its older tools, Team Labs will this year launch its full collection in a product suite called Workspace. Revenue crossed the $1 million threshold for the first time; up 250% since 2018. The company raised its headcount to 120 from 80 and increased its customers to 70,000 from 5,000—a list that includes Coca-Cola, Google and Hilton. As for profitability, Dalal says, “It’s there. I can see it. But we’re not at that stage yet.”

Dalal is among the tech entrepreneurs in the Consumer Technology category of this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list. In a somewhat similar way, India’s Bhaswat Agarwal and Mukul Rustagi are also developing digital tools—this time for teachers. The duo’s Classplus startup operates a mobile platform where tutors can deliver their study material and receive payments. After getting a huge boost from the country’s Covid-19 induced lockdown last year, it now has more than 50,000 educators teaching more than 10 million students through the platform.

Edtech boom

Edtech also represents a big opportunity for other entrepreneurs in India, where the country has witnessed an increasing demand for products able to assist its hundreds of millions of school students.

Divyansh Bordia, Anshuman Kumar, Mihir Gupta and Payoj Jain’s Teachmint is a Bangalore-based edtech platform helping offline tutors digitize their classrooms, engage online with students, and reach a wider audience. It raised in October $3.8 million in a seed round led by Lightspeed India and investors Better Capital and Titan Capital.

Similarly, Saumya Yadav, Mahak Garg and Karan Varshney’s Udayy provides live online classes for children in English and math. Since its launch in 2019, more than 200 teachers have taught 130,000 students using the startup’s interactive and game-based approach to learning—an early success that helped it raise in January $2.5 million in seed funding from investors including New York-based Falcon Edge Capital’s Alpha Wave Incubation fund and India-based Info Edge Ventures.

To Ishaan Singh and Mikhil Raj, e-learning can be more about school subjects. Their online education platform FrontRow offers celebrity-led courses including batting with cricketer Suresh Raina, singing with Neha Kakkar and rapping with Divine. “FrontRow has changed how one can learn and be better at their passions,” says the duo, which raised $3.2 million from Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone, Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners) and Lightspeed.

Gaming and entertainment entrepreneurs are also represented in this year’s 30 Under 30 Asia list. Founded in 2018 by Dilsher Singh Malhi and Siddhant Saurabh, the live trivia gaming app Zupee has over 10 million users. It offers quizzes across a range of topics including math, movies and sports, and users can compete against multiple players for cash prizes. The Gurugram-based startup has raised $20 million from Matrix Partners, WestCap Group, Smile Group, Falcon Edge Capital and Orios Venture Partners.

In Japan, Takuya Kato is bringing entertainment events online to help businesses cope with the fallout of Covid-19. His Tokyo-based Vark is a virtual reality app for live and recorded idol music events. Owners of PlayStation VR, Oculus and others can use the service for free, but pay for actions like throwing bouquets on stage. Acts pay to broadcast but also sell merchandise such as T-shirts and tote bags. Vark has raised about $10 million in capital, including from Mitsubishi UFJ Capital and ANRI.

To see the full Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in the Consumer Technology category, click here.

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