Born in Malaysia to Sri Lankan parents, Malini Saba grew up in Perth, Australia, but moved to the United States at the age of 19 with her then-husband, who was a student at Stanford University. As the wife of a graduate student, Saba led a spartan lifestyle. However, the fact that she was allowed to audit classes at the university changed her life. Saba began to attend business classes and seek advice from venture capitalists and investment bankers in the Silicon Valley area. Soon she began making her own investments and eventually became a venture capitalist in her own right.
During the 1990s, Saba built a career as a venture capitalist, investing in a series of technology companies. On the ground floor of the dot-com boom, Malini Saba had an uncanny ability to identify a good investment opportunity. Saba invested in Paypal and Netscreen, both of which were bought out in billion-dollar deals.
During the 2000s, she invested heavily in oil, gas, and coal companies, and later moved into Australian real estate. Her personal success and the odds that she overcame led her to take on an active role in encouraging women to meet their potential, despite the social barriers that sometimes make it difficult.
To that end, in 2001, Saba founded Stree, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide health care and legal services to women in Africa, Central America, India, and Eastern Europe. The organization, which counts Bill Clinton and Queen Noor of Jordan as supporters, also makes philanthropic donations to causes around the world. So far in 2016, Stree has been active in Latin America, the United States, and Africa, having raised $373,000 for victims of earthquake in Ecuador, purchasing 1000 tents for the homeless in New York, and providing thousands of dollars in scholarships to school-aged girls in Ghana.
In addition to her leadership role with Stree, Saba also makes personal donations of her time and money. In 2004, she visited the countries hit by that year’s tsunami and donated $10 million dollars to assist victims.