Week in Review: MOL listing will inspire SEA ecosystem
By Karamjit Singh July 18, 2014
- CEO Ganesh using listing exercise to sell his growth story
- Mobile, e-commerce, physical channels pillars of future success
WHAT a week this has been, especially if you are a Malaysian. First, there was the excitement of MOL Global Inc filing its IPO (initial public offering) papers and the thought that by September, Malaysia will have an Internet company listed on Nasdaq.
Then I wake up this morning to the dreadful news that a Malaysia Airlines flight has been shot down over the Ukraine. That has left me with a sickening feeling in my gut, and indeed, I write this with a heavy heart.
From all of us at Digital News Asia (DNA), our deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the crash. For Malaysia Airlines, this is sheer bad luck on a cosmic scale.
Speaking of luck, it played a very small part in the success of MOL’s founder and chief executive officer Ganesh Kumar Bangah. If he has had any luck, he made it for himself through sheer hard work and by not complaining.
I ran into him once at the airport in Jakarta where he was visiting the recently set up MOL office there. During our short coffee chat, I learnt that he regularly visits the various South-East Asian countries in which MOL has operations and partners.
This was in 2012. Since then he has added Turkey, Vietnam, the United States, Brazil (through his Rixty acquisition); not forgetting the Friendster acquisition that brought the Philippines into his travel plans too.
Today Ganesh, a Digital News Asia Digerati50, is in Singapore to begin selling his MOL growth story to institutional investors.
And this is the interesting part, one entrepreneurs can learn from: If you read MOL Global’s preliminary prospectus, and I strongly urge you to, you will realise that the growth and success Ganesh has had up to today is just the launchpad for the growth he expects MOL to experience over the next five years.
He will use his prospectus and roadshow – and countless upcoming media interviews – to sell the growth story of MOL that centres on e-commerce but is powered by mobile, yet enabled as much by technology as the physical presence MOL has, with an incredible 920,000 stores from where his customers can pay for the digital services they will use on MOL.
Besides working really hard, Ganesh also knows how to manage other entrepreneurs. And this is a point that most will not realise – he has managed to keep the founders of all the companies he has acquired over the years. They are still driving the business.
That, I think, is very hard to do as entrepreneurs find it tough to work for others, to take orders and lose full control of their company.
What I will be looking to see is how long these entrepreneurs still stay with MOL after Ganesh acquires 100% of their companies as he has stated MOL will do after its listing. Will these founders cash out as soon as their moratorium period ends, or will they buy into the long-term vision Ganesh has set and help him achieve it?
And I also wonder what impact MOL’s listing will have on the ecosystem in South-East Asia and Malaysia in particular. Will he inspire and fire up entrepreneurs throughout the region to want to emulate him? What do you think?
Meanwhile, next week’s Disrupt on Angels are from heaven, mostly has already been fully booked. I am expecting an interesting discussion between the panellists, Bob Chua and Sashin Bhatia, the latter an Indian national who has made Penang his second home.
Finally, our most popular article of the week was LSM Kuala Lumpur makes an impact.
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