What Matters To Me: Marcus Tan, Co-Founder And President Of Carousell
In the What Matters To Me series, a Generation T honouree describes what they do, why they do it, and why it matters.
Marcus Tan founded Carousell with university classmates Quek Siu Rui and Lucas Ngoo in 2012. An online marketplace for new and second-hand goods, it has since hosted 150 million listings, helped to sell more than 50 million items, and expanded from its native Singapore to six additional markets. Here, Tan introduces his work in his own words.
I was inspired to build my own business after I joined the National University of Singapore Overseas College Programme. Siu Rui and Lucas were also part of the programme, and we attended classes at Stanford University, and interned at startups where we saw the possibilities of technology and witnessed a culture that welcomed failures and crazy ideas.
My co-founders and I have ambitious goals for Carousell because we know that the world needs a product like ours. There are so many things that are underused but that might find use with someone else. Carousell has also become a platform that aspiring entrepreneurs use to sell their products. ‘We’re less than 1 percent done’—this is Carousell’s motto.
We believe in leveraging the global workforce because we want our team to have different perspectives in order to ensure exciting, constructive discussions. We currently have more than 20 nationalities on board. The most difficult part about my job is finding the right people to hire, understanding what motivates everyone, aligning expectations and, most importantly, building a habitat where people can learn, progress, share their views and feel psychologically safe.
My advice to budding entrepreneurs is to start small and soon
— Marcus Tan
My advice to budding entrepreneurs is to start small and soon. You don’t need to have the perfect plan to start because, as LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman once said, ‘If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.’