Roshni Mahtani Cheung
Founder and CEO of theAsianparent, 36
Meet BAZAAR’s league of extraordinary women. Singapore visionaries under 40, they are paving the way in the tech and digital spheres and proving that the future is not only female, the future is now.
Mahtani Cheung is the founder and CEO of theAsianparent, the largest mother and child platform across Southeast Asia with an extensive reach of 20 million monthly users. Her various online publications boast quality digital content for women, by women. Warm, honest and articulate, the tenacious technopreneur talks important life lessons and what it’s like to finally turn the tables.
What in your background prepared you to be an entrepreneur?
My family going broke. When the Asian economic crisis hit, it hit us hard. I had to work odd jobs like handing out flyers at MRT stations and conducting surveys door-to-door, to support myself through school and help out with bills. I learned the value of money and hard work during that period; which totally upped my adversity quotient.
Was switching from a publishing company to a media and tech company difficult for you?
Early in my career, I was in media and journalism, so I wasn’t very techy. But I’ve found that thinking like an engineer has really helped me grow the company. That was a necessary shift both personally and in terms of the direction of the company, because digital media platforms just blew up. You couldn’t ignore an opportunity like that. It was exciting more than it was difficult.
Have you ever felt that being a woman made it challenging for you in your field?
When I was starting out, absolutely. Tech was definitely not a woman’s game back then. I had meetings where senior executives would direct their questions at my male junior employees instead of me. It wasn’t easy to ignore, but it did light a fire in me to turn the tables one day. I hope I sound more triumphant than vindictive; but that day is here.
What are some of the biggest lessons you have learned in your journey so far?
Always read the fine print; keep your eyes on cash and profit no matter how dazzling your revenue may be; go hyper-local whenever you enter a new market. In a broader sense, take your time when you hire someone. The company is your second family, and your standards have to be very high when welcoming someone into it. The same goes for your whole ecosystem. It boils down to whom you can trust and who you want to grow with.
Click here to see the other four women on our list.
Photographer: Darren Gabriel Leow
Stylist: Adriel Chiun
Videographer: Stacey Rodrigues
Makeup: Cheryl Ow using Parfums Christian Dior
Hair: Sean Ang using OUAI
Photography Assistants: Eric Tan and Melvin Leong
Styling Assistants: Chandreyee Ray and Beverly Tan