Meet the Founder: Hope Liu, CEO
Hope was born in Tianjin, China, where she spent the first 10 years of her life growing up in a 100-square-foot house. Hope was the first in her family to apply to university, as both of her parents were forced to drop out of high school during China’s Cultural Revolution. When Hope was 18, she took the national college examination or “Gao Kao,” earning her a spot at Peking University, China’s most prestigious college.
At Peking University, Hope majored in Korean and excelled academically. She reached the top of her class, which enabled her to study abroad in Seoul. In addition to Korean, Hope played active roles in various student clubs, bringing together students from different academic backgrounds to explore their true passions and focus on career development opportunities.
After graduating in 2008, Hope received an offer from UBS to work as a Graduate Trainee. She spent the next 6 years at UBS, working her way up to the position of Authorized Officer. Hope’s primary focus was on facilitating cross-border transactions, and she spent time working in Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore. Hope’s experience included overseeing offshore teams and managing settlement across 14 countries. Eventually, Hope realized how inefficient global banking processes are and decided to pursue an MBA at MIT to look for a more efficient way to process transactions.
Instead of submitting a traditional application essay to MIT, Hope submitted a rap, and in 2015 she was accepted to the MIT Sloan School of Management. At the beginning of her MBA, Hope was primarily focused on finding interesting startups to collaborate with. However, after learning about blockchain in an MIT Media Lab course, she became obsessed and shifted her focus towards blockchain applications. With her background in cross-border transactions and banking, Hope immediately saw an opportunity for blockchain technology to be used to improve supply chain processes.
In 2015, Hope began working on Eximchain with Can Kisagun. The project received accolades from the Rice Business Plan Competition, the Legatum Seed Grant, the Plug and Play Fintech Accelerator, and MIT, among others. In 2016, Can began work on another project, and Hope brought on Juan Huertas as a co-founder. At the time, Juan was an undergraduate student working on distributed systems. He bought into the mission after learning the use cases and reviewing the hundreds of user interviews conducted by Can and Hope.
In June 2017, Hope (MBA) and Juan (BS) graduated from MIT and began working on Eximchain full-time. They spent the summer at Lair East Labs, an accelerator in New York, working on their whitepaper. By September, they began building their team and actively seeking investments and partnerships.
Hope’s current focus is on fundraising, business development, and strategic direction. She travels frequently between the US and Asia, promoting Eximchain and looking for opportunities to transform supply chains with blockchain technology.