Embracing technology and disruption in entrepreneurship

Two local technopreneurs were invited to share their journey in technopreneurship, challenges faced and disruptions made while building their tech business in the recent On the Edge Talks: “Technopreneurs 2K18”.

Organised by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub (eiHub) under the School of Business, Monash University Malaysia, the talks are aimed at addressing contemporary challenges while fostering learning and knowledge sharing in all aspects of innovative entrepreneurship.

“If we don’t start to engage strongly with the business world and new innovations, and try to make an impact, the disruptions that we face in the future will be too big. It’s going to be those who can adapt to change and see the opportunity in disruptions that will lead us forward, like our speakers today,” said Professor John Benson, Head of the School of Business.

“Disruptions can happen in a physical form, but often they’re more in the way we think about the world of business. From the talks today, we will get an idea of where the world is heading, as well as a longer-term perspective of where the business world and society is moving towards,” he added.

The first speaker, Andrew Ooi, Co-founder and Managing Director of Inspidea, described how the company was started from a simple observation that there were no locally-produced animation shows on television in the early 2000s.

Ooi, an urban planner with no animation background, teamed up with his accounting-trained business partner and took a bold dive into the deep end when they produced their first animation series, Johan: The Young Scientist. It was rejected by local television networks but, undeterred and with a strong belief that things would work out, the pair flew to Cannes, France and found a buyer from a network in the Middle East.

“When we first started, there were a lot of content on free television. Subsequently, entertainment content boomed from free TV to paid TV like Astro, which plays an important role in the local TV landscape. Now, there is another shift in how we consume content with the emergence of broadband and internet TV via over-the-top platforms like Netflix. The demand for content has become even greater,” Ooi elaborated.

Reiterating that continuous innovation and a firm belief in their business has kept them going, Ooi explained that Inspidea, now in its 16th year of operation, has also kept true to their mission of creating fun entertainment to inspire the world to dream differently.

“Our experience while starting out taught us to be bold and to not take no for an answer. Our story continues to inspire our artists and staff today. ‘Let the Kid Out’ is our mantra and philosophy, which we incorporate into our day-to-day running of the business and even our company trips!” he shared.

For Narishvin Sukumaran, growing up as a dyslexic child with a deep passion for games and magic, spurred him to achieve his dream of ‘impacting the world through technology and entertainment.’ He is now Chief Marketing Officer at Gameka Sdn Bhd, an innovative game development and gamification solutions company.

Before Gameka, Narishvin was the CEO of Superhumanz Online, where he led a team to produce videos for an online magic training platform. The venture was a success and was set for further growth when a fallout with his company’s investors resulted in a parting of ways.

When an opportunity presented itself, he took another leap of faith, when he joined Gameka in marketing and communications, despite not having a background in it. Overcoming challenges and roadblocks became a norm for Narishvin in his career. However, he faced them with firm determination, a strong belief in himself, gritting his teeth through hard work and 16-hour days.

“If there are three things that I’d like you to take away from this talk, they are first, to trust your gut. Second, to persevere (do not give up) and last but not least, find your purpose and go all out for it. What separates a great entrepreneur from a mediocre one is that great entrepreneurs have a strong purpose, just like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk,” he shared.

On The Edge is an initiative by the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Hub (eiHub), School of Business at Monash University Malaysia. It aims to bring together university staff, students, industry and the local community to address contemporary challenges.

For more information, please visit www.monash.edu.my