Pocket Sun, the 27-year-old co-founder of multi-million dollar VC firm SoGal, wants to better gender dynamics.
Yiqing “Pocket” Sun became a venture capitalist by accident. A Chinese national who arrived in the US in 2009 to study at Virginia’s William & Mary College, Sun was enjoying her job at an American corporate marketing firm when suddenly she had to quit because of work visa issues.
Determined to stay in the country, she signed up for a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Southern California (USC). While there she realized “entrepreneurship is the only way to make a real impact on the world.” But there was a problem.
She felt lonely as an aspirational entrepreneur. The venture capital industry is male-dominated and Sun felt many female entrepreneurs were undervalued and undercapitalized. The biggest problem she found was lack of access to capital, which was hurting the chances of women entrepreneurs.
So Sun decided to start SoGal (inspired from Southern California’s university SoCal acronym + Gal) as a student organization at USC in 2014, which quickly grew into a global community of entrepreneurs and investors.
Today, SoGal Ventures is a multimillion-dollar, female-led, millennial venture capital firm. Sun and co-founder Elizabeth Galbut (whom she met in a venture capital course at Stanford University) take care of over 50 companies. The SoGal community is now called SoGal Foundation (a US nonprofit organization), reaching over 100,000 entrepreneurs in more than 30 countries.
Besides this, 27-year-old Sun has given TEDx talks, is a regular speaker at conferences and summits across the world, and has been on the cover of Forbes Asia as one of their 30 Under 30. We spoke with Sun to learn more about SoGal’s journey and how it is trying to empower women entrepreneurs. Edited excerpts:
What was the first investment SoGal made?
It was in January 2017 to Function of Beauty, a New York-based startup that creates 100 percent customized hair care products. We thought it represented the new way of buying personal care and the power of advanced manufacturing.
How much money have you invested so far?
Over three million has been invested in 19 companies since January 2017.
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