In the lead up to the 16th ABLA, the CNBC Exchange series will explore current topics of interest to business leaders in different countries. Open to a select group of c-level and senior executives, each Exchange features a highly-engaging debate with discussion and is followed by a networking session over dinner.

Thu, 7 Sep 2017, 4pm - 8pm
Glasshouse at Seputeh, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Location Map

Southeast Asia’s Start-up Scene

Compared to its peers in China and India, Southeast Asian startups are still in the early days of technology innovation. However, there's no lack of entrepreneurs ready to make their mark here. We take a closer look at the digital economy eco-system in the region, and assess the market opportunities and funding challenges for startups in Southeast Asia.


Akiko Fujita

Akiko Fujita

Correspondent, CNBC

Akiko Fujita is the host of CNBC's pre-market program The Rundown. The Rundown captures the overnight action from Wall Street and equips viewers for the Asia trading day. Based in Singapore, Akiko also covers Asia-Pacific business including the Japanese market and the tech industry, for cnbc.com.

With more than a decade of experience, Akiko has covered some of the biggest stories across Asia and the U.S. Prior to joining CNBC, Akiko was a Tokyo-based correspondent for ABC News, where she led network coverage of the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. She also traveled across East Asia, reporting on everything from the conflict on the Korean Peninsula to Edward Snowden.

One-to-one Interview

Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)

Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood

Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC)

Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood started her career as an analytical programmer before working her way up to CEO and senior positions for global brands such as Microsoft, Dell, and HP.

In September 2014, she accepted the calling to become the CEO of MDEC, fulfilling her life-long dream to serve the nation.

With MDEC, Malaysia’s lead agency responsible for spearheading the growth of the digital economy, she focuses on driving investments, building local tech champions, catalysing digital innovation ecosystems, and elevating digital inclusivity across the country.

MDEC is also responsible for ensuring that Malaysia plays an integral part in digital innovation around the world, while attracting participation from global ICT companies to invest and develop cutting edge digital and creative solutions in the country.

To-date, MDEC has recorded more than RM300 billion in investments since its inception.


Joel Neoh, Founder, Fave

Joel Neoh

Founder, Fave

Joel Neoh is one of Asia's most recognized young entrepreneurs. With a passion for democratizing technology to enhance the lives of millions of consumers across Asia, Joel is the Founder of Fave, and Online-to-offline (O2O) local commerce platform. He was one of the initial founders of the Groupon businesses in Asia, playing an instrumental role in establishing the high-growth business model that propelled Groupon into a multi-billion dollar business, spanning across 12 countries.

Joel has received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and was named Young global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Vinnie Lauria, Founding Partner, Golden Gate Ventures

Vinnie Lauria

Founding Partner, Golden Gate Ventures

Vinnie Lauria is entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. He is a founding partner of Golden Gate Ventures, an early-stage VC firm in Southeast Asia with over 30 investments to date. He is a Kauffman Fellow, and a guest lecturer at the National University of Singapore. He was rated by the Founder Institute as highest startup mentor in Asia from a pool of 2,500 mentors.

Guillem Segarra, CEO, HappyFresh

Guillem Segarra

CEO, HappyFresh

Guillem Segarra is CEO of HappyFresh Group, Southeast Asia's leading foodfocused last mile logistics and on-demand delivery company.

Prior to joining HappyFresh in March 2015, he was Marketplace Operations Manager and Head of 3PL Management at Lazada Group, which is pioneering e-Commerce across Southeast Asia. Before that he was a Technical Consultant for Vodafone Global Enterprise (part of the Vodafone Group), dedicated to simplifying the management of global communications for the world’s largest multi-national companies.

Lucas Ngoo, Co-Founder & CTO, Carousell

Lucas Ngoo

Co-Founder & CTO, Carousell

Lucas Ngoo is a co-founder of Carousell and oversees Engineering. Since the launch of Carousell in August 2012 together with co-founders Marcus Tan and Quek Siu Rui, Ngoo has been working closely with the engineering team on technical, architecture and data direction and strategies. He is dedicated to building a team of world-class engineers to keep Carousell at the forefront of the industry. He is also passionate about product development, iOS development, and applying data science to solve problems at a large scale.