Starting Life Anew in Silicon Valley
Six months ago, I told my long time mentor and champion Diarra:
“I want to start my own company. I want to be a VC. If I fail at both, maybe I can join a rising startup.”
Six months later, I founded my own company Loving Life, became an investor, and got several offers from startups inviting me to be their advisor.
I want to share the back story of how I did it. It was with the help of many, many people whom I’m eternally grateful for.
I — Getting a ticket
It all started with an email from VC Unlocked. An investor education program offered by a VC firm 500 Global in collaboration with Stanford University.
Two of my friends nominated me to join.
I worked on my application at 11pm after my kids went to bed on the night of deadline.
Recorded my personal story in the bathroom trying not to wake everyone up.
Interviewed with Vanessa.
Then good news I’m in!
II — Are we going?
Now we need to decide.
The tuition is not cheap. I have two young kids. I’m still breastfeeding my daughter. And I am not ready to wean her.
If I’m going, I want to take my daughter. If I’m taking her, I need someone to take care of her. So my husband needs to come. Then my son needs to join. So everyone have to come.
I asked my husband.
He said, “Fei, you should go. Great opportunity.”
So here we go. Flying from New York to San Francisco.
III — Launching my startup at VC Unlocked
And I can’t say this enough: it is this well-designed program with the people involved and my classmates that gave me the conviction and courage to make the jump and launch my startup officially.
IV —Coaching Stanford-Lille Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Stanford invited me to coach an entrepreneurship program they co-created with Euratechnologies, an incubator in France, and as one of the judges for their final presentations.
I wrote about my learnings and coaching philosophy. Here are some moments I cherished the most.
Estelle Réau founded Cocotte, using app instead of human guide for food tours in France, offering more flexibility and affordability.
Towards the end of our coaching, I suggested, “Why don’t you create a photo memory of the food tour as a present to the customers? Everyone takes home a video album of food they tasted, with whom, plus all the content on history you already created.”
Estelle’s eyes lit up! “I love it!”
I felt goosebumps all over my body. A spark in the air being created right there among the two of us! We walked toward each other and high-fived.
Thanks again to my amazing entrepreneurs for your inspirations:
Delphine solving homelessness via digital solution connecting real estate and charity.
Pierre and Laurence reinventing valuation integrating intangible assets.
Théo applying gaming architecture to revolutionize cybersecurity.
Guillaume bringing live shopping to more businesses.
Laurent scaling coaching and resources to entrepreneurship.
Loïc simplifying customs and optimizing sourcing.
EuraTechnologies reimagining and creating the future through MetaLab, Intrapreneurship, and a new Venture Studio.
V — The journey continues
I was having lunch with family at Din Tai Fung, known for their soup dumplings.
Next to us, we saw a couple with five kids, everyone helping each other. Very calm. No jumping up and down at all. That piqued my interest.
It turned out that the father Peter Chuang is an entrepreneur who founded his own media and education company Elijon Media. He is also a producer, musician, is currently home schooling his children.
We shot an interview at his home and studio. Stay tuned for more stories.
To learn more about VC Unlock, check here.
To learn more about the Stanford-Lille Innovation and Entrepreneurship, check here.
I also advise startups and individuals with huge potential. If interested, connect with me on LinkedIn and send up a flare.
Loving Life empowers everyone to be the best version of ourselves.