Empowered Women: The Female Founders and CEOs of Headline in Asia
In recent years, there has been a rise in female entrepreneurship and female-founded companies. But in spite of all that progress, a lot remains to be done. In a study by Work-Bench, less than 2 percent of enterprise software startups in the United States have at least one female founder. According to the study’s data, there were 354 women who founded enterprise software startups in the US in 2021, of which 154 received funding.
Things are not easier for female entrepreneurs who want to branch out and start their own enterprise, whether in FinTech, software, or really any industry. Following our two-part Women Founders series Part I and part Part II, we at Headline are celebrating Women’s History Month by introducing nine exceptional women who are making a difference in not only the technology space but around the world.
Agnes Peng earned her MBA at The University of British Columbia and is well versed in startup financing, business operations, market research, and data analysis. With her co-founder, who is her husband, she founded GliaCloud in 2015, all the while taking care of their two kids at the same time. Read more about Agnes Peng here in our Founder Spotlight story.
“Our text-to-animation tool can generate character animation according to the inputted text’s meaning. This technology sheds light on regular AI-generated videos, as it makes videos more engaging! As a mother of two young kids, I am excited to see how this can be used for creating more educational content.” — Agnes Peng, the co-founder and COO of GliaCloud.”
Based in Taiwan, GliaCloud is a technology company that aims to make communication easier for everyone, providing solutions and applications in data analytics and machine learning. It is an AI video creation platform that allows its users to automatically convert texts and articles into videos.
GliaCloud has three products: GliaStudio, an award-winning AI-powered video production platform; GliaStory, an AI-transformer for mobile-friendly web stories; and GliaStar, an AI-powered solution that animates brand mascots through text inputs. It was selected as one of the “10 female-founded startups to invest in 2021” by several venture capital firms, including Idinvest Partners, Korelya Capital, EQT Ventures, and Kima Ventures, who recognized this group of startups as the most promising ones to watch in 2021.
Katrina Cokeng of Xen Capital
Katrina Cokeng is the Co-Founder & CEO of Xen Capital, an alternative investment platform. She holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and has over 20 years of global experience in strategy, investment banking, and private equity from companies like McKinsey & Company, Merrill Lynch, and Pomona Capital. Cokeng has also co-founded and scaled Oriente, a leading digital finance platform in Southeast Asia. Check out her Founder Spotlight interview with us and her advice for female entrepreneurs.
“As a female founder and CEO, it is important to me to mentor and empower younger women to take risks and achieve their dreams.” — Katrina Cokeng, Co-Founder of Xen Capital.”
Xen Capital is a financial technology company that provides a digital client management solution to simplify the product distribution and fund management process for wealth advisors and asset managers. The platform provides a digital interface to KYC/onboard investors, automates the manual process related to closing subscriptions, and manages fund subscriptions and reporting. With an increasingly digital-savvy investor landscape, Xen Capital enables Wealth Advisors and Asset Managers to broaden their distribution networks and access the most relevant deals at scale.
Having graduated from Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) with a Master’s Degree in International Economics/Russian Studies, Keiko Sydenham specializes in alternative investment, real assets, infrastructure, Hedge Fund, Private Equity, etc. The former managing director at Blackstone Group Japan later launched LUCA, an alternative investment firm.
“The world is becoming more borderless with digital technology. We believe the latest innovation will enhance efficiency in alternative investment processes and scalability of capital raising,” says CEO Keiko Sydenham. “I am excited to lead LUCA Ltd., with experienced co-founders and to propose better investors’ experience in attractive investment opportunities.””
LUCA Japan is a digital platform for alternative investment, such as private equity, real estate, infra, and private credit. Established in July 2021, it was co-founded by CEO Keiko Sydenham, Headline, and Northvillage Investment Co., Ltd. Their mission is to make alternative investment more accessible and efficient for investors as well as provide them with a one-stop digital solution. LUCA is forming a strategic partnership with Xen Capital to develop a specialized digital platform for the Japanese market, as well as a means to source world-class alternative investment fund opportunities.
Satoko Otsuki of Spider Labs
Just a few days after giving birth, Satoko Otsuki won fourth place at LAUNCHPAD SaaS, the largest startup pitch contest in Japan. Impressed by her drive and passion, Headline invested in her company, Spider Labs, in 2021. She is running Spider AF, the company behind an anti-ad fraud tool while balancing work and life as a mother of three children. In November 2021, she was selected as a finalist in EY Winning Women 2021. Read more about her interview with us here.
“Currently, I think that society is in a tailwind for women entrepreneurs. There are many reasons for actively supporting women entrepreneurs. One of the reasons is diversity. The “EY Winning Women 2021” that I was recently awarded is one such example.” — Satoko Otsuki.”
Spider AF is an ad fraud prevention tool that detects, blocks, and protects digital ads from invalid clicks and conversions. By using their services, such as centralized fraud management and advanced automation, advertisers are able to track ad placement, identify fraudulent behaviors, and analyze clean data to make informed decisions about their digital advertising.
Takako Ogawa of Panalyt
Experienced in Human Resource and Business Analytics, Takako Ogawa is the CEO of Panalyt, an engine that integrates data from any source, generates insights, and provides both internal and industry benchmarks for managers. Having honed her skills and gained experience during her time at Google Japan working in recruitment and people development, and Google’s company-wide change management initiatives as the senior project manager in the strategy and operations department at Google’s US headquarters, Takako Ogawa took her skills to start her company, Panalyt Japan. In 2014, she was awarded the winner of the Most Innovative & Creative Award at the 2014 APAC People Operations Summit.
Observing the common pain points of HR, management, and managers, the team of Panalyt, with combined 35 years of senior HR leadership roles, developed a service that can be used by managers to identify and focus on areas critical without wasting time. Panalyt is an accessible platform that integrates data from all HR tools, integrating and analyzing data on employees scattered across disparate HR, productivity, finance, and digital and communications systems, etc., to provide insight to the C-suite, HR /HR business partners, and line managers with advanced analytics tools.
Kana Yamairibata of Langualess
After graduating from the Osaka University of Foreign Studies with a degree in intercultural communications, Kana Yamairibata worked at Recruit Communications Inc. in order to find what motivates people and what values bring change to people, as well as how their feelings are affected. Yamairibata became interested in developing products that could analyze the state of mind and by 2017, she joined Inupathy Inc. In 2018, Yamairibata became the CEO of Inupathy Inc. (the name was later changed to Langualess Co. Ltd.). She says the mission of the company is to “create a future that can be transmitted without language communication”.
Langualess is on a mission to bring communication with animals to the next level with their language-less communication. Langualess has developed technology that is able to monitor and analyze animals’ feelings through their heart rate, creating new ways of meaningful connections and communication.
When Alissa Miky was nine years old, she witnessed the 9/11 tragedy and, in her time of anxiety and fear, a Red Cross member handed her a candy, which helped her feel safe and lessened her anxiety. She held onto that memory and knew she wanted to make that happen for others. She was nominated in “Forbes Japan 100 Top Women 2018” and “Business Insider Japan Game Changer” in 2019. As an influencer, she was able to bring a big amount of followers to Misaky on TikTok (Currently: 352,300 followers with 9.9 million likes).
Founded in 2019, Misaky offers those looking for a plant-based solution to their sweet tooth vegan and gluten-free candies. Inspired by the Japanese candy “Kohakutou,” which translates to “amber candy” in English, Misaky’s candy is crystallized with a flavored jelly center, developing a crunchy outer crust while keeping the chewiness inside.
Yukiko Iyo of RABO
Yukiko Iyo completed her pre-doctoral course at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. Iyo is experienced in conducting biologging research, providing Internet services, and designing products. In 2018, she founded RABO, Inc. with the aim to improve cats’ living experiences. Furthermore, with Iyo’s 20 years of experience living with her two cats Burimaru and Oden (who are respectively RABO’s Chief Cat Officer (CCO) and the CCO’s assistant), she is a cat care specialist and catsitter certified by the Japan Pet Skills Test Association.
“I am prepared to take risks because I am willing to bet my life on this business. I know that I can attain achievements because of my enthusiasm.” — Yukiko Iyo, the President and CEO of Rabo.”
RABO is a company dedicated to improving the living quality of cats and their owners. Their product Catlog, a wearable collar-like device, allows cat owners to monitor the status of their cats at any time. Since the debut of Catlog, RABO has successfully become a respected star in the cat lovers’ community in Japan. RABO’s ultimate goal is to give everyone a chance to cherish the individuals they love in the world.
Tracy Lin joined Taiwan Taxi after returning from her studies in the US a decade ago and has since had different roles at multiple levels before taking over the responsibility to lead the company. Tracy’s goal is to offer users an unmatched “one-stop solution” lifestyle service with her company’s car service app, 55688. Her vision is to transform the traditional taxi industry and to develop a world-class digital lifestyle service platform to boost Taiwan Taxi’s operational excellence, as well as improve the app’s user experience and overall rider experiences. Check out her interview with us here.
“It is often thought that as a woman, gender could be an impediment, especially when you are taking on a new role. However, many females are attentive and resilient, which are qualities that are valued in the workplace. In my job, I have developed a strong inner strength and courage for innovations. By focusing on details and communications, I look forward to using my leadership to empower my team members and maximize their expertise to the fullest.” — Tracy Lin, CEO of Taiwan Taxi.”
Taiwan Taxi, founded in 2005, is the largest taxi company in Taiwan. The company provides approximately 80 million rides per year. With service provided all around Taiwan, Taiwan Taxi has more than 22,000 taxi cabs, accounting for 24 percent of Taiwan’s taxi industry. Its subsidiary, Taiwan Intelligent Life Co., operates 55688, also the island’s biggest and most popular taxi service app. To further develop 55688 into a super-app that offers an unmatched “one-stop solution” for lifestyle services, Taiwan Intelligent Life has formed a strategic partnership with Headline, which is investing US$5 million in support of its development.
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