Diversifying Entrepreneurship One Female Founder At A Time
While women founders are on the rise, only 7% of partners at the top 100 venture firms are women, a recent study for the CrunchBase Women in Venture reported.
Pocket Sun is fighting these statistics as we speak. Not only did she start her own VC firm, SoGal Ventures, but she’s empowering more women to start their own companies within the SoGal community and the Her Startup Global Competition.
Pocket Sun Pictured in Forbes’ 2016 30 Under 30 Asia
Pocket didn’t always count on being an entrepreneur. “I had been 2 months into my entrepreneurship master’s program, and realized the gender disparity issue existed on a large scale. I rarely see any female speakers in our speaker-packed classes. I wanted to apply what I’ve learned and give myself a nice challenge – start something of my own. That’s how I got started.”
This was just the beginning. After taking a deep dive into entrepreneurship and venture capitalism, things started moving quickly. Pocket described, “The community kept expanding and challenged me to grow it. Next thing I know, we’re starting chapters in multiple global cities and hosting events all over the world. Then we identified venture capital as a big roadblock for women founders, and decided to start a fund to improve the status quo.”
A year later, SoGal has grown to over 4,000 members from over 20 different countries. Pocket is currently involved in the judging of Her Startup, the first global startup competition for female founders. The SoGal Summit and Her Startup Finals will be hosted in Santa Clara on July 20, 2016. SoGal is an organizer for Her Startup in charge of all all US competitions and the week-long Silicon Valley program for global finalist teams. Her Startup serves as a global showcase for the innovation and creativity of female founders.
Pocket Sun pictured at the SoGal Vietnam Summit with the winning team
Pocket’s jump into VC entrepreneurship wasn’t an easy one. “I was starting from nothing besides my passion. Before SoGal, I wasn’t empowered, thinking that I was only an international student who spoke inferior English and couldn’t rise up in the American society. The biggest mistake you can make is to underestimate yourself. To succeed, the first thing you need to do is to realize your value and potential. This didn’t come to me naturally and I always felt I had nothing to offer. I was so wrong!”
These things didn’t hold Pocket back. She explained, “Things changed after I found a purpose. My eyes started to shine when I talked to people about the young entrepreneurs in the SoGal community, and I really, really wanted to help them in any way I could. People saw my pure intention and responded with generous help and support. Lesson learned: believe in yourself, and always add value to others.”
This motivation still lights Pocket’s life. “My purpose is to empower and inspire the next generation of women entrepreneurs and leaders. With the SoGal community and SoGal Ventures, we’ve been able to share success stories via online and offline channels, and propel female founders’ success by providing resources, connections and opportunities. We are also inspiring women to dream big, solve bigger problems, and become founders and funders.”
Pocket has been able to do so much for the world’s female founders since pursuing her passion. She shared with By Geekgirl that women in tech can best help her mission by helping each other.
Pocket Sun pictured for SoGal
Her work with SoGal proves to be continuously rewarding, “I get updates from entrepreneurs all the time and it’s amazing to see how fast they grow, and how we played a role in their personal and company growth!” It’s clear that Pocket’s heart is at the core of her work.
To upcoming entrepreneurs thinking of starting their own companies, Pocket counsels. “Do it! The world needs to see more of us. Have a big vision and don’t be afraid to communicate it. Build a strong team, focus on growth, and let numbers do the talk.”
Entrepreneurship can often be a lonely road full of people with doubts about your own abilities. To those encountering these types of roadblocks, Pocket advises, “We have to be the crazy ones. Only people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. Sometimes people just don’t see the future like the way you do. Stick to your guns and show them what’s possible.” This kind of determination is exactly what’s taken Pocket where she is today.
While she fought her way through a male-dominated field, Pocket’s point of view is unfailingly optimistic. “It’s a big advantage to be a woman in VC. You add enormous value and diversity to the table and improve the collective team IQ. I encourage more women to get into venture capital!”
Pocket Sun serves as an incredible inspiration. Her work with SoGal is affecting real women’s lives and changing the face of entrepreneurship itself.
What inspires you?
Is it your dream to start a business? We want to hear what’s inspiring you. Let us know in the comments below.