Each year, the Silicon Valley Business Journal honors up-and-coming leaders in the Silicon Valley who have distinguished themselves in their fields before the age of 40. The Business Journal editorial staff and several of last year’s 40 Under 40 winners poured through more than 250 nominations to choose this year’s winners. Hemi Ventures’ Amy Gu is the only female venture capitalist who made the list.
In venture capital land, only 8 percent of venture capitalists are women. Amy Gu is one of them.
She founded Hemi Ventures with the goal of uncovering and funding early-stage startup rebels. In under a year, she has led the firm to invest in 18 companies that are making breakthroughs in artificial intelligence, robotics, biotech and other emerging spaces. Previously, she was Evernote China’s General Manager, chief product officer at BaBeeTa, and founder and CEO of Congtou, as well as an adviser to Udacity and Robinhood.
Name: Amy Gu
Title: Managing Partner
Company: Hemi Ventures
Company city: Palo Alto
Hometown: Beijing, China
Residence: Palo Alto
Education: MBA, Stanford Business School
Biggest professional achievement so far: Starting Hemi Ventures
Biggest professional whoops so far: Should have started Hemi Ventures earlier
Something about yourself that would surprise others: I used to work as a food critic in Hong Kong.
The best part of your job: Learning from every Hemi portfolio CEO
Best career move: I went from building a startup to building a VC firm.
If you weren’t doing this, you would be: Building a startup again
Your first paying job: I worked at a big corporation; and I loved that I was able to make an impact there. I was 22 at the time and managed an important negotiation for the company. I still remember working until 2 a.m. to get all the documents ready. The negotiation ended up working well for both sides.
The business executive you would like to spend 10 minutes with: Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates
Ultimate career goal: Build an equal educational system
Hot topic in your field: Autonomous driving
Your six-word memoir: Integrity, excellence, discipline, accountability, independent thinking
Favorite escape: Mountains
A new skill you’d like to learn: The ability to learn any language overnight
A book you have read recently and would recommend: “Principles” by Ray Dalio
Immigration story: I moved here to study at Stanford 10 years ago. Stanford and the Silicon Valley changed how I think about the world. Immigrants made America different. Half of Hemi’s 18 portfolio companies have at least one co-founder that is an immigrant to this country. They work hard to create job opportunities and build useful products for our society. I am a strong supporter of the International Entrepreneur Rule. With more immigrants like me sharing their stories, I hope we can spread the word about their contribution to this country.