14 Inspiring Female Founders in Hong Kong and South East Asia

14 Inspiring Female Founders in Hong Kong and South East Asia

by November 7, 2018

Fintech has become a global phenomenon, especially in Asia where high Internet and smartphone penetration is creating fertile ground for fintech adoption.

With Singapore and Hong Kong, two internationally renowned financial hubs, emerging as regional fintech leaders, it comes with little surprise that most of Asia’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the field are from these two locations.

To keep up with Asia’s budding entrepreneurs, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most inspiring women fintech founders who are transforming the financial landscape in the region:

Tan Hooi Ling, Co-Founder Grab, (Singapore)


Tan Hooi Ling

While her co-founder Anthony has always been the public face of Grab,  Hooi Ling played a pivotal role in co-founding Grab — in fact it was both of them that came up with their idea of Grab (known then as MyTeksi) during their time with Harvard Business School.

Grab has come a long way from its initial days as a ride-hailing app to its current fintech ambitions with Grab Financial which offers a full suite of services ranging from payments, loans and insurance.

You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone from South East Asia is not familiar with the name Grab.

Ayesha Khanna, Co-Founder and CEO, ADDO AI (Singapore)

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Ayesha Khanna is the co-founder and CEO of ADDO AI, an AI advisory firm and incubator. She has been a strategic advisor on AI, smart cities and fintech to clients such as SMRT, Singapore’s largest public transport company; Singtel, Singapore’s largest telco; SOMPO, Japan’s largest insurance firm; Habib Bank, Pakistan’s largest bank; and Smart Dubai, the government agency tasked to transform Dubai into a leading smart city.

She is also the Founder of 21C GIRLS, a charity that delivers free coding and artificial intelligence classes to girls in Singapore. In 2018, Khanna was named one of Southeast Asia’s groundbreaking female entrepreneurs by Forbes magazine.

Val Ji-hsuan Yap, Founder and CEO, PolicyPal (Singapore)

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Val Ji-hsuan Yap is the founder and CEO of PolicyPal, a free app that allows users to organize, and track, all their insurance products in one dashboard, and the PAL Network, a dual-layered protocol for financial assets. Founded in 2016, PolicyPal aims to help customers understand their insurance coverage better.

The startup was the first graduate from MAS’ fintech regulatory sandbox. Prior to PolicyPal, Yap worked at Allianz, PwC in London, and OCBC Bank in Singapore. She was recently named to Forbes’s 30 Under 30 list for Finance and Venture Capital, and is a frequent speaker at universities and conferences.

Elena Ionenko, Founder and Business Development, Turnkey Lender (Singapore)


Elena Ionenko is the founder of Turnkey Lender, a multiple award-winning SaaS platform offering an intelligent end-to-end solution for complete automation of the lending business in non-bank organizations and banks. Turnkey Lender supports all stages of the loan life cycle from application processing and automated decision making to collection and reporting, and can be used for consumer lending, microfinance, payday loans, auto loans, mortgages, SME loans, in-house financing, peer-to-peer (P2P) lending and other types of lending.

Khai Lin Sng, Co-Founder and CFO, Fundnel (Singapore)


Khai Lin Sng is the co- founder and CFO of Fundnel, a private investment platform for unlisted securities in growth stage and pre-IPO companies. The platform aims to democratize the way investors seek opportunities in the private markets, and help best-in-class unlisted companies raise capital efficiently. At Fundnel, Sng is responsible for supporting the deal committee in an advisory role specific to all incoming deals and investor relations. With over five years of experience in banking and private investments, she has worked for J.P. Morgan, Citibank, and CIMB-GK Securities.

Nalinee Chinowuthichai, Co-Founder and COO, InvoiceInterchange (Singapore)


Nalinee Chinowuthichai is the co-founder and COO of InvoiceInterchange, a P2P invoice trading platform. The company’s aim is to help support business growth by allowing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to auction off invoices for immediate working capital. At InvoiceInterchange, Chinowuthichai oversees technology development and enhancement and ensures operational excellence. Prior to InvoiceInterchange, Chinowuthichai worked as project manager at HSBC Global Banking and Markets and Credit Suisse, both positions in the London, and as a business analyst at the National Australia Bank.

Nicki Ramsay, Founder and CEO, CardUp (Singapore)


Nicki Ramsay is the founder and CEO of CardUp, a payments company based in Singapore that enables individuals and businesses to use credit card for all their big payments such as paying rent to a landlord, taxes, suppliers or even payroll to employees. In doing so users get access to instant credit and rewards. A payment professional, Ramsay has a background in business development, consumer insight and analytics having worked in leadership roles at American Express across both Asia Pacific and Europe. She is seen as a thought leader in the fintech space, and often featured in media and events.

Annette King, Co-Founder, Galileo Platforms (Hong Kong)


Annette King is the co-founder of Galileo Platforms, a platform technology company serving the insurance sector. Using blockchain technology, the platform connects all participants in the insurance industry efficiently and in real-time. King has 26 years of experience in life insurance and wealth management including 10 years in P&L responsibility. Most recently, she served as Manulife Asia’s vice president of client experience, brand and communications and prior to that Manulife Singapore’s CEO. King is a qualified actuary, FIAA, BEc and FAICD.

Maggie Ng, Founder and CEO, FinEx Asia (Hong Kong)


Maggie Ng is the founder and CEO of FinEx Asia, the first global fintech marketplace connecting Asian investors with global high quality and low volatility asset classes, including US consumer loans, an asset class that was traditionally dominated by global institutional investors and banks. Ng has close to 20 years of banking experience and held various senior positions in both business and risk management at Citibank. She also served as the Asia and EMEA head of unsecured lending at Citibank, and held senior positions at Ernst & Young (Australia) and Broken Hill Proprietary (HK) Ltd.

Maxine Ryan, Co-Founder and COO at Bitspark (Hong Kong)

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Maxine Ryan is the co-founder and COO of Bitspark, a cash in, cash out blockchain remittance platform for money transfer operators and individuals to send Asia-wide. Her startup has won international awards and is redeemed as one of the pioneers of the bitcoin/blockchain remittance space. Ryan is an advocate for blockchain technology having consulted and strategized with Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, telcos and startups in the use case of the technology. She is an international speaker on the topic as well as a mentor to fintech startups. She frequently speaks at tech and finance events, can be see on BloombergLive and was selected for Forbes 30 Under 30, 2018.

Bianca Ho, Co-Founder and COO, Clare.AI (Hong Kong)

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Bianca Ho is the co-founder and COO of Clare.AI, which builds white label AI digital assistants to empower financial institutions to engage their customers in a natural and reliable way. Prior to founding Clare.AI, Bianca worked as a business development manager at OneSky and Zendesk, and a private banking analyst at JP Morgan. Ho is also the co-founder of Dotkids, a startup aiming to create a children friendly space online. She is an active youth advocate in Internet governance, and is one of the youngest members of the Multistakeholder Advisory Group in the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (UNIGF).

Rachel De Villa, Founder and CTO, Cropital (Philippines)


Rachel De Villa is the co-founder and CTO of Cropital, a crowdfunding platform that helps finance local Filipino farmers. Established in 2015, Cropital aims to improve the income and productivity of farmers through crowdfunding, providing scalable and sustainable financing. Through Cropital’s online platform, investors choose a farm or farms to invest in. Cropital manages the fund for the farmer making sure it goes to the right resources, assuring as well that investors will get a return on investment.

Winnie Chua, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, PolicyStreet (Malaysia)


Winnie is the co-founder and chief product officer at PolicyStreet, an insurtech platform that aims to make it affordable, simple to understand and easy to access private healthcare. PolicyStreet targets underserved markets in the insurance space, such as the poor, students and startups. The company also serves Millennials and Malaysia’s rising middle class. PolicyStreet won the best startup award at the Seedstars Summit in July 2017 in Kuala Lumpur.

Kristine Ng, Founding CEO, Fundaztic (Malaysia)


Kristine Ng Fundaztic

Kristine Ng is a director and the founding CEO for Fundaztic, one of the 6 P2P lending companies approved by the Securities Commission of Malaysia. Fundaztic’s call to fame is their 83% command of the disbursements to SMEs.

Prior to founding Fundaztic Kristine Ng was already a well-known figure in the financial services space, she held the position of Executive Vice President role in Credit Guarantee Corporation, which facilitates SMEs access to financing through its guarantee schemes.

Featured image credit: Edited from Freepik