When Quek Siu Rui chose to attend business school at the National University of Singapore, he imagined a career as a consultant or banker – not as the leader of a multimillion-dollar startup that would redefine the region’s classifieds industry.

Quek is the CEO of mobile classifieds firm Carousell, a company he cofounded with two friends seven years ago that has gone on to completely change the way people buy and sell secondhand goods across Southeast Asia.

Although this approach might sound straightforward today, when the company was first founded the notion of using a smartphone app to post items for sale online was virtually unheard of.

They not only won the hackathon – Quek and his cofounders also drew inspiration from the support they received from other participants during the event.

“That gave us the confidence to focus on Carousell full-time.”

The app has proven to be a big hit, launching at a time when smartphones have become a leading means for people to communicate and shop across Singapore and the surrounding region.

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