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The lesson from Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey that inspired these students to build a multimillion start-up

CNBC logo CNBC 5 days ago Karen Gilchrist

Siu Rui Quek, Lucas Ngoo sitting at a desk with a laptop: Carousell's co-founders from left to right, Marcus Tan, Siu Rui Quek and Lucas Ngoo.© Provided by CNBC LLC Carousell's co-founders from left to right, Marcus Tan, Siu Rui Quek and Lucas Ngoo. Siu Rui Quek had always been entrepreneurial. As a teen, he would fuel his passion for technology and earn extra cash buying and selling gadgets online.

But it was a lesson learned in his early twenties from enterprising icons Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey that set him on course for the big times.

That lesson? Know your mission.

Quek is co-founder and CEO of $550 million online consumer marketplace Carousell. He started the business with his college friends Marcus Tan and Lucas Ngoo back in 2012 after they were inspired by talks from the top tech talents during an internship in Silicon Valley. And, even today, he says those presentations played a vital role in shaping Carousell's success.

"The one thing that we really learned and took away," Quek told CNBC Make It, "is to be absolutely mission-oriented and mission-first."

"This idea of being mission-first just helps people transcend personal egos (and) helps create collaboration," he said.

To be sure, the founders did not mentor Quek and his friends directly.

"I always joke that I have a mentor, which is Mark Zuckerberg, but it's only one-way — I know him but he doesn't know me," Quek said.

But, by watching their presentations and studying their style, Quek said he and his co-founders were inspired to think about the big picture and how they could use technology to solve big issues.

"I think the one commonality all of them had was just this whole fascination for using technology to solve problems and make a big impact," said Quek.

For Carousell, that meant building a platform to simplify buying and selling online, which, Quek said, plays into the company's wider mission to "inspire every person in the world to start selling."

And it's advice Quek said he would pass onto other would-be entrepreneurs, too.

"The advice I give to all entrepreneurs always is you've got to be absolutely passionate about what you do, the problem that you're solving, because it's going to be extremely hard," he said.

"You've just got to love what you do and be obsessed about that problem you're solving," Quek added.

Don't miss: How 3 friends turned their unwanted items into a $550 million business

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