A self-made billionaire, Malini Saba, is a unique business woman and philanthropist who was born in Malaysia. With only $200 in her pocket, she moved to the United States at the age of 19. She received valuable insight into the investment world by attending lectures at Stanford University and sneaking into business gatherings to pick the brains of investment bankers.
Unable to get into a venture capital group, she founded Saban in 1990. The company has a diversified portfolio that includes technology, real estate, oil and gas companies in the United States, Australia, and China.
Malini is a forward thinker and a risk-taker. When most people were backing away from real estate, she invested in it. “I have always looked at market trends and done the opposite. I look at where the world will be 3-5 years out based on what we are doing now,” she said. Throughout the 90s, Malini invested in more than 20 Silicon Valley technology companies, including PayPal Inc., Netscreen Technologies, Inc., and Sycamore Networks, Inc.
Later, she founded the non-profit organization, Stree, which has donated millions of dollars to help low-income women and at-risk children imagine themselves as contributing members of society. Recognized by Queen Noor of Jordan and the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton, Stree, provides healthcare access, educational opportunities, and legal services. Additionally, the organization holds seminars to assist grassroots groups with public policy campaigns in Africa, India, Eastern Europe and Central America.
After seeing first-hand the damage caused by the 2004 Tsunami, Malini vowed to give $10 million to the victims in India and Sri Lanka. In 2005, she donated $1 million to El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, CA to form the Heart Research Center for South Asians. It is the first hospital in existence to address heart disease and diabetes from a cultural perspective for the descendants of those from the southern region of Asia.
Malini Saba has had to move a few obstacles out of her way as she became successful. However, she says, she doesn’t believe in walking away from a fight. She once engaged in a 4-year legal battle to win back a piece of land that caused her company to close some of its mines. As she recalls Steve Jobs, she said, “He was a fighter. He stood his ground on what he believed in. He used all hurdles to his success. It takes a lot of self-belief and vision to be on that path.”