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Taran Kumar, founder of DTAutomobile



Taran Kumar, founder of DTAutomobile

T​aran Kumar is the founder of DTAutomobile, a highly successful and independent luxury car importing business based in Indonesia. He founded his business when he was previously living in London and pursuing business school studies. Whilst residing in London, Taran saw a business opportunity. Being heavily involved and active in monitoring the car trading industry in London and Europe, Taran was able to build his own acumen and envisioned ways in which he could develop the domestic luxury car industry in Indonesia. His expereinces and ideas culminated in the birth of his business, which he has passionately developed for the past few years.

A well noted entrepreneur who has been featured by several publications, Taran is here with us today to offer us his insights on his current venture and share with us his ideas on how to tackle business development.

​​Taran, tell us abit about your background

Well, I am from Jakarta, Indonesia. I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My family owns numerous well established businesses in Indonesia. One of which is a renowned garments manufacturing business which I have been heavily involved in since a young age. Through my family businesses, I have been able to develop my own business experience and vision as I had the opportunity to deal with and create business relations with numerous big names internationally. Besides all this I am also an independent stocks trader, I believe in investments.

What are you currently working on?

I am working on developing DTAutomobile at the moment. I am personally striving to bring in more diesel engine cars into Indonesia. I want to try to change the minds of people who love cars. Especially in regards to diesel engines. I am trying to show, as against people’s expectations, that diesel engines have much better fuel consumption as well as being environmentally friendly. That is a major thing I am working on in my luxury car business.

​As my business network grew exponentially along these years, I’m also working on expanding the market for vehicular oil lubricants in Indonesia. I want to make it excessively viable and reachable to everyone in Indonesia. This relates to something that my family has been involved in as well. My father has a similar business specializing in vehicular oil lubricants based in Jakarta. Now, I am striving to reach each markets in Java and everywhere else.

Aside from cars, I have a love for properties. I believe investing in properties is the best option for business and personal growth. Especially, if you have got spare cash rather than buying luxury goods and materialistic things to boost personal egos. Having another property file in your drawer makes you grow day by day. So I started investing in property personally within Indonesia. With property as well it grows. All you just see is people offering you to buy at a higher price, never at a lower.

Where did your initial idea for DTAutomobile come from?

My idea was based on my own passion for cars since I was a little boy. Having a father who loves cars is a blessing too. So when I started my venture in importing cars, my father had fully supported me in realizing it even without thinking twice. Having my ideas ripe and perfect, we kicked off with personal orders from people around Jakarta. Initially the orders were received from mostly friends and family. There were even personal investment to try out demand.

​I think the uniqueness of a private luxury car importer is getting the best of best cars. It is all about being bespoke. Doing what you want with these cars. It’s all about options, from upholstery leather colours, everything can be bespoken. This has never been done before. So I wanted to get in on it but not only that, offering these things at a price way, way cheaper then market values.

So what is the revenue model for DTAutomobile?

At DTAutomobiles, we make money but not as much as local competitors and dealers. The only reason being my objective to get more people to trust our brand and creating a very high turnover for our brand. We make money from each car base on how much difference am we are willing to give to each client and whether there should be a high charge of fee for our importing services. Importantly, that fee is nothing compared to the discounts we give customers. They could even buy another car with the amount of discount we give them.
How do you realize your business ideas?

​I do take time to understand and get focused. I do meet a lot of people and I love networking. Having someone to talk about your ideas too is the most essential thing as you can understand different perspectives and their ideas. It is always best to reassure what you have with another workaholic. I have realised a lot of my ideas. And all I do is work, work and work. I sometimes take the time to think and research based on the smallest thing that may be able to help me accomplish my business ideas.

What does a typical week in your work life look like?

My typical day is to wake up in the morning , spare some time for coffee and breakfast, as those are the two most essential things when you wake up. Giving sometime to God is my essential guide to a perfect day. Then I head to my office and clear out my morning work and have a meeting with my accountant on the company’s books and accounts , making sure everything gives out a tally.

On a busy day, I don’t even have the time to go to the office. I will be out for meetings the whole day and giving time to satisfy customers by attending to each one of them and their needs. These meetings are normally far away from my office so I take on the traffic jam of Jakarta and move around replying emails from all over with UK and The States as I work with them.

After work hours, I give myself time to go to the gym and spa. During tiring days, I just swim at home. I think it is essential to exercise and rejuvenate ourselves everday and take an hour from work , so for me exercising is part of my schedule.

After that I head home and spend time with my family and have dinner together if not I go and tend to meet my friends for an hour. I have to be back home before 11pm as during that time as American markets and offices open so I work until about 2-3am everyday. Often I attend to my conference calls and emails with abroad , and there goes my daily life.

During the weekends, I tend to go dinners and sometimes clubbing as well as to new fantastic places in Jakarta. I like to treat myself with a nice glass of wine or liquor, while socialising and catching up with my friends.

On Sunday, I go to church with my family as Sundays are very much likely to be dedicated and spending time with God as well as family.
Would you have approached certain things differently in regards to DTAutomobile?

“In life there are no regrets , just lessons.” I truly believe in this statement. In all honesty, I may have done certain things differently in regards to spending my time in London and making sure I had more time concentrating on my luxury car business and meeting more and more suppliers and also from all other parts of Europe. However, there was also a difficulty. I was juggling between business school and my meetings, I think it was a pretty good outcome that I was able to kick off DTAutomobile at the end of it all. So really I have no regrets.

Despite this I have I’ve learnt many lessons in the past few years from my business, my travels and studies. I grew and understood that I should be completely focused on one business rather then juggling around several because I have been involved in several.

What is one advice you would give to other entrepreneurs out there?

The advice I would give to entrepreneurs out there is to learn and understand the concept and characteristics of managing a business.

I would also like to advise them that Faith and determination is the key to achieving wonders. As I believe Faith moves mountains. This gives the upper hand of focus and positive thinking. That will definitely enable a successful outcome to entrepreneurs out there.

Something overlooked often is the power of note keeping. I think carrying a notebook is also essential for entrepreneurs as ideas come anytime, anywhere. Having it jotted down is a key to not forgetting as what they have just written might be their big one tomorrow.

What is the greatest challenged you’ve faced so far with your business?

The greatest challenge we faced so far in DTAutomobile is finding new suppliers in London. London is an interesting place, as initially I was completely new to the place and didn’t know how the tax system worked so that was the greatest challenge I had to overcome initially. This is because for my company cutting cost is our main priority and the tax in the UK is about 17%. This gives us a huge challenge as we had to take back the tax and make sure that is brought down to making the overall cost for the car cheaper.

What is a business idea you are willing to share with our readers?

I personally don’t have few businesses in mind that I don’t mind sharing. I do have an idea about making an annual conference for understanding how each entrepreneurs thinks. I think this idea will be the most effective idea to pursue for the purposes of now.

What are some of the online resources you utilize daily?

Probably these websites:
Bloomberg (
WallStreet Journal (
Autotrader ( (
What is one important book you would recommend to our readers?

The Holy Bible, possibly the most important book you can read. Furthermore, Topgear and GQ.​



Email: [email protected]


Women on Top in Tech – Dr. Sanna Gaspard, Founder and CEO of Rubitection



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Dr. Sanna Gaspard is the Founder and CEO of Rubitection, a medical device start-up developing a diagnostic tool for early stage pressure detection, assessment, and management. She is an Entrepreneur, inventor, and biomedical engineer with a passion for innovation, entrepreneurship, healthcare and medical devices. She has received recognition and awards including being selected as a finalist for the Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards(’13), a semi-finalist for the Big C competition (’14), a finalist for the Mass Challenge Business accelerator in Boston, and taking 1st place at the 3 Rivers Investment Venture Fair’s Technology showcase (‘11). Her vision is to make the Rubitect Assessment System the global standard solution for early bedsore detection and management.

What makes you do what you do? 
I am driven to have impact and improve healthcare as I have a strong drive to problem solve, comes up with new ideas, and see them come to life.

How did you rise in the industry you are in? 
I first focused on getting the educational background and then I pursued the goals I have for myself. I got my PhD in Biomedical Engineering with a specialization in medical device development. Having the educational background is important as a woman and minority to assist people in taking your seriously.  After completing my PhD, I focused on bringing my invention for a medical device for early bedsore detection and prevention called the Rubitect Assessment System to market to help save lives and improve care.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I started my startup, Rubitection , because I felt it was the best way to bring the technology to market. I knew that if I did not try to commercialize the technology, it would not make it to the doctors and nurses. I also have confidence that I could manage developing the technology since I had taken classes on entrepreneurship and had my PhD in biomedical engineering with a specialization in medical devices.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
No, I don’t have a specific mentor in my field. I am looking for one at the moment. However, I do look up to Steve Jobs and Oprah as examples of how one can start with nothing and work their way up and build a successful, global, and reputable business and brand.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?  
I first try to find people who have fundamental technical or work experience to be competent to complete the work. I then evaluate the person for intangible skills like independent thinking, reliability, leadership, resilience, organizational skills, strong work ethic, open mindedness/flexibility, and good communication skills.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why? 
I consciously make an effort as a minority woman in tech, I intimately understand the need to promote diversity within my business and outside my business. I first hire the best people for the job and also make a point to hire women and minorities qualified for the position.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?  
It takes resilience, vision, being a team player, an ability to inspire others and delegate work, knowing your weakness, and knowing when to put your business or yourself first.

Advice for others?
My advice to others is to take calculated risks, pursue every opportunity, surround yourself with supporters, build your team with smart dedicated people, and stay focused on your vision. I am striving to implement this advice myself as I work towards commercializing my technology for early bedsore detection, grow my team, and recruit clinical partners to address an $11 billion US healthcare problem which affects millions around the world.

If anyone is interested in learning more about our work or company, please contact us at [email protected].

To learn more about Dr. Sanna Gaspard, CEO of Rubitection visit:

If you’d like to get in touch with Dr. Sanna Gaspard, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about Rubitection, please click here.

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Women on Top in Tech – Suzanne Wisse-Huiskes, Founder of MatchBox Consultancy and an Advocate at the Global Tech Advocates Network



(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Suzanne Wisse-Huiskes is a Strategic Consultant and Founder at MatchBox Consultancy with offices in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. MatchBox provides expert advise in Impact Investing, Alternative Finance, Venture Capital, Fundraising, Women Leadership, Business Development, and Economic Empowerment. She is also an Advocate at the Global Tech Advocates Network. Dedicated to challenging talented entrepreneurs, Suzanne is an official mentor at startup/accelerator programs in Africa, Europe, and Asia. She was awarded top 400 most successful women in the Netherlands for two years in a row.

What makes you do what you do?
My drive is to enable entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by improving their access to funding. This can elevate an entire community. I believe that Alternative Finance can potentially be a powerful catalyst for shifting the way our financial markets work.

I love the ingredients of the alternative finance market: the innovative nature of the industry; the global playing field; the turbo speed of change. The market is booming and shows little sign of slowing down.

I founded MatchBox to support highly motivated entrepreneurs and investors in their mission to create profitable businesses with impact. MatchBox has become a trusted partner to these clients: they value our strategic and operational expertise, as well as our strong global network used to consult and connect. The requests vary from developing large investing programs to ensure access to capital for SME’s, to developing funding strategies for entrepreneurs. What works in one country may not work in others. We understand the local players and the local markets. This work is fully aligned with what is important to me.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
I’ve been in the crowdfunding industry since 2008. Back then, Facebook only had a 100 million active users as opposed to the 2.000 million users today. Kickstarter, one of the world’s largest funding platforms, was yet to launch. Joining the industry that early in the game, allowed me to rise with it. I was fortunate to be part of initiatives that pushed the Alternative Finance ecosystem, first in Amsterdam, then on a broader European level.

Then later on other emerging markets began to interest me. I moved to Nigeria, to work in Africa’s fastest growing economy and home to exciting trends in capital and fintech. I familiarized myself with the investing ecosystems in African countries. Today, I work in alternative finance ecosystems in Asia, Africa and Europe. Being able to learn, share and compare best practices from different economies to me is key in the rise of the industry. Currently, the crowdfunding market in Asia alone is worth over 200 billion Euros. That’s huge!

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
I’ve always followed my heart in my professional life. I focus on work that I am passionate about and am not afraid to take the path less travelled. So leadership, demographics never held me back. With my experience and skills I am well positioned to successfully get the job done. For me it doesn’t feel like it’s a stretch.

Even more so, my clients see it as a big advantage to have women on the job. I recently worked on an impact investing program in West Africa focussing on women-led SME’s and experienced the benefits of a diverse team. Women entrepreneurs see the world through a different lens and, in turn, do things differently.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work? How did you make a match if you did, and how did you end up being mentored by him/her?
The industry was completely new when I started, with no seniors to learn from. As a strong believer in mentorship, I do reach out to people in other industries for feedback and to bounce ideas.

I also learn a lot from working with various entrepreneurs. Collaborating with Sir Richard Branson in the beginning of my career was encouraging. We did a successful Crowdfunding Campaign for the elephants in Botswana. But I’m equally impressed by entrepreneurs that make a huge impact on their community no matter the circumstances. I’ve seen exceptional people grow businesses in the poorest regions of Nigeria. One can only admire their leadership.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
For me, mentoring young entrepreneurs is a great way to develop and grow talent. My focus is usually on two mentees at a time to ensure there is enough time to discuss ideas and challenges. I worked at fintech startups for almost 10 years before founding MatchBox. So there are plenty of stories to share and learn from, both on failures as well as on successes.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
I’m very vocal on the need for diversity. I’ve always found myself in the male dominated groups. First at University, then in my first corporate position, and later as a Board Member. At some of my MBA Finance classes, I was the only woman in a room of 50 men. It never bothered or intimidated me. It just made me work a little harder.

Nonetheless, diversity is much needed. I strongly believe the industry is missing out on many brilliant women. That is why I dedicate a great deal of time mentoring female entrepreneurs. We discuss the tools their businesses require to grow and attract the right type of capital. Investors still have a different approach towards female founders. This year, we are launching an initiative called ‘the Republic of Female Founders’, to provide practical tools and guidelines that are specific for this group.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
My general rule of thumb: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. For me, it’s all about collaborative leadership. My industry is becoming increasingly complex, so sharing best practices will bring us far. That’s why I became an Advocate of the Tech Shanghai Advocates, part of the Global Tech Advocates. This group of senior leaders in the tech community is created to champion and accelerate the growth of the local technology sector.

I am also a fan of the CrowdfundingHub and Crowddialog in Europe, and Ingressive in Africa for similar reasons: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things because they believe in the positive impact of innovation in finance. My peers are all trailblazers in the alternative finance industry, I consider myself to be in great company.

Advice for others?
I strongly believe in collaboration, so building business relationships is key. I truly foster my relations. To me it doesn’t feel like work, but rather like building bonds. Seek opportunities to connect and reach out. It really pays off to have a strong network. At MatchBox, I work with a network of exceptional local experts. If you need advice and consulting on your funding strategy, impact investing program or crowdfunding strategy, we will gladly work with you. Contact us at MatchBox.

If you’d like to get in touch with Suzanne Wisse – Huiskes, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn:

To learn more about MatchBox Consultancy, please click here.

To learn more about  Global Tech Advocates Network, please click here.

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