Technology ‘can transform’ the developing world’s education
By Peter Guest
Ong Peng Tsin believes that all good businesses have a purpose. “People give you money for a reason. People give you money because you’re helping them create value,” he said, in an interview in his office in Singapore’s Chinatown district.
“There are investments that I’ve made where you think: ‘What social good did that do?’ We have a company called Escapex. It lets celebrities reach out to the fans directly. This might not be a big social impact company, but previously the fan in some village somewhere sees this superstar as a very detached person. Now they can tweet a message and the star can see it and even respond. You’re democratizing access to celebrities. Is that a good thing? I don’t know. But you’re giving people choice.”
Over the years, a lot of people have given money to Ong. In the mid-1990s, he co-founded the internet dating pioneer Match.com, before starting Interwoven, an internet technology company that listed on Nasdaq and was eventually sold for $775 million in 2009 to the technology multinational Autonomy. Encentuate, another of his technology startups, was bought by IBM for an undisclosed fee.
Photo courtesy of Alikem Tamakloe.