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Asian American Entrepreneurs Breaking the Mold

Wednesday, January 27, 2021
4:00pm - 5:30pm
Zoom (link with meeting ID and password will be emailed to registered attendees prior to the event)
Prerna Gupta
Prerna Gupta
Dave Lu
Dave Lu
Vu Van
Vu Van
Mo Fong
Mo Fong
Joyce Zhang Gray
Joyce Zhang Gray

We all know the stereotypes about acceptable Asian career options. These stereotypes discourage us from exploring alternative careers and limit our personal growth.  What if there were a better way to realize your full potential and find alignment with your values, natural talents and dreams?  What if you can have the freedom, flexibility, and financial stability in starting a venture on your own and embrace success and failure as part of the career journey?

We will hear from Asian entrepreneurs and the lessons they have learned in building their own businesses.  From how they overcame societal and family expectations of the “right career paths” to how they founded their business inspiration and made them a reality. If you have budding ideas and need a nudge or a push to help them blossom or are currently living and breathing the startup founder life, come join us for a lively discussion and a post-presentation mixer with a community of entrepreneurs, founders, and funders.

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Time listed is Pacific Standard Time (PST).
Please ensure you select "send email and exit" in the confirmation screen upon registering in order to receive login info in your email.

Wednesday, January 27th, 2021, 4:00PM - 5:30PM PST
Thursday, January 28th, 2021, 8:00AM - 9:30AM Taipei Time
Thursday, January 28th, 2021, 5:30AM - 7:00AM India Standard Time

A secure Zoom Link with meeting ID and password will be emailed to registered attendees prior to the event

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About the Speakers

Prerna Gupta is Founder & CEO of Hooked, a mobile media company reaching over 100 million Gen Z viewers worldwide. Hooked has been the #1 app on the App Store and Google Play in over 25 countries and has won numerous design awards for its innovative chat fiction format. Hooked investors include Sound Ventures (Ashton Kutcher), The Chernin Group, WME/Endeavor, MACRO (Charles King), Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Mariah Carey, Jamie Foxx, Joe Montana, Aasif Mandvi, Anjula Acharia, Cyan Banister, Eric Ries, Cowboy Ventures, Founders Fund, SV Angel and Greylock, among many others. Previously, Prerna was Chief Product Officer at Smule, where she led the development of hit music apps, like AutoRap, that have been downloaded by 350 million people. She has also produced viral videos totaling 300 million views. Prerna has been named one of the Most Influential Women in Tech by Fast Company, and her writing has been featured in New York Times, Vogue, Forbes and TechCrunch, among others. Prerna graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University.

Dave Lu has been working in tech for over two decades at big tech companies including Yahoo!, Apple Cisco and eBay. In 2005, he bootstrapped his first company Fanpop, a user-generated community site for entertainment fans, to over 40 million monthly users. After Fanpop, he ran marketing for Luxe, a two-sided marketplace for on-demand valets. He leveraged his experience to launch his second startup, Pared, a labor marketplace for the restaurant industry. In 2011, Dave created a community called Asian-American Founders Circle which has grown to over 200 founders including Tony Xu (DoorDash), Steve Chen (YouTube), Kevin Lin (Twitch) and many others. He recently started Hyphen Capital, a syndicate focused on preseed early-stage companies with Asian-American founders. Dave received his bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and his MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Vu Van is a female entrepreneur and the Co-founder & CEO of Silicon Valley-based ELSA, the English pronunciation app. ELSA’s app, which is called ELSA Speak, listens to the way language learners pronounce words, sentences or conversations to pinpoint exact errors and provide real-time, accurate feedback on their pronunciation mistakes with specific suggestions on how to improve. She worked with leading speech scientists, machine learning scientists, and linguists from around the world to create ELSA. Powered by the company’s proprietary AI and speech recognition technology, ELSA scores a learners' speech to pinpoint individual syllable and phoneme level mistakes with real time feedback. Prior to founding ELSA, Vu lived and worked in Vietnam, Singapore, and Denmark where she experienced the challenges of an English language learner abroad. She served as an Engagement Manager at Booz & Co. Vu earned an MBA and a Masters in Education from Stanford University and is originally from Vietnam. 

About the Moderators

Mo Fong has been at Google for over 14 years currently as the Sr. Director of Google Technical Solutions focused on Google's Learning and Education products.  Mo has also worked on Google Search and Assistant as well as led Google's CS Education efforts to "help every student access the quality education they deserve” focusing on inspiring and retaining under-represented students in computer science.  Her first seven years at Google, she worked on Google Payments as a program manager and became the Director and Global Chief Compliance Officer.  Prior to Google, Mo worked at PayPal in risk management and was the Executive Director of the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiatives.  She was also an administrator and high school teacher in the Bay Area at the Fremont Union High School District.   Outside of work, Mo supports the Asian community through SAPAAC, TOPPA, Ascend, and ERGs.  She also advises education start-ups such as LightUP.io and 100kin10.  As an HBS career coach and Stanford BEAM mentor, Mo helps others explore paths to define and achieve their full potential.  Mo has a BS in Chemical Engineering and MA in Education from Stanford University and MBA from Harvard Business School.

Joyce Zhang Gray is the Co-Founder and CEO of Alariss, the global marketplace for high-skilled talent, allowing fast-growing emerging market tech companies in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East to connect with full-time and contracting skilled workers in the United States. The dual mission of Alariss is to reverse brain drain by bringing global tech talent to the emerging markets, and to improve cross-cultural collaboration. She was previously the first employee and VP of Sales for Human Interest, a Fintech startup backed by Y Combinator and other top Silicon Valley VCs. In Asia, she worked for the President of Microsoft Asia-Pacific in Singapore and as a regional manager for Groupon China (JV with Tencent). And in Africa, she worked for the World Bank's International Finance Corporation in Nairobi developing the East Africa Community's Common Market Protocols as well as for a behavioral economics firm doing work in public health in Zimbabwe. In government, she previously worked for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on financial regulatory reform policy during the Global Financial Crisis and for the US Department of Labor. She received her BA from Harvard University, MPA from the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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