Diversity in leadership: Celebrating the success of Asian & Pacific American founders with Google Cloud
Product Marketing Manager
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month —a time for us to come together to celebrate and remember the important people and history of Asian and Pacific Island heritage. This feature highlights three AAPI founders from the Google For Startups community.
Read on to learn how these three founders built their businesses, leverage Google tech, and suggestion they have for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Founder: Lola Han
Description: CultivatePeople's compensation software, Kamsa, provides global market pay rate data and helps companies make data-driven salary decisions so they can attract and retain their most valuable asset: employees.
Why GCP: “CultivatePeople began using GCP when integrating SSO/SAML authentication after our SaaS product became a high priority. We were able to exceed our clients’ expectations and increase their level of trust in our platform's capabilities. We're currently investigating additional machine learning products, such as Cloud AutoML, that will allow us to quickly deliver exciting features.”
Note from the Founder: “I grew up with immigrant parents who value stability and are risk-averse. My parents discouraged me from starting my own company because they didn’t want to see me struggle financially or see my health suffer (due to stress). I felt strongly about what CultivatePeople could do, so I started the company as a sole founder in 2017 and watched it double in size year over year since. While the ones I love most may not have cheered me on initially, it was important for me to hang on to the encouraging words of former bosses, executives, and founders to keep me focused on my mission.
My advice for other AAPI founders is to be a "silent assassin" and believe in the mission and values of your organization. Always remember to stop along the way and:
1) Enjoy the journey by celebrating wins and giving yourself credit;
2) Follow your intuition—it's (almost) always right;
3) Recognize and invest in your people regularly (ie. give increases more than once a year, if warranted);
4) Give regular words of affirmation to employees on even small achievements.”
Founder: Josh Lee and Max Lim
Description: Swit is a team collaboration platform that seamlessly combines team chat with task management by allowing teams to turn their conversations into trackable tasks and share tasks to chat with simple drag-and-drop functionality, ensuring everyone is on the same page and projects get done faster.
Why GCP: “Swit is a cross-category hybrid work tool for chat and tasks. This functionality requires more complicated and heavier architecture for performance. So, configuring and managing virtual machines was really challenging to scale up our systems, while handling occasional unexpected traffic surges and frequent updates. Eventually we divided our monolithic architecture into 35 microservices when we launched our official product. The migration to GKE took around one month, and it turned out to be well worth the effort—our systems became able to offer high scalability and enough resilience to keep its uptime no matter what happened. Now we’re operating 84 workloads and 252 microservices with high stability with remarkably low downtime - less than 0.00001%/year.”
Note from the Founder: “As an AAPI founder based in Silicon Valley, I feel proud of the work ethics and diligence fellow Korean American entrepreneurs and professionals have long demonstrated here. Especially with K-pop breaking into the mainstream, I feel even more proud of our culture that strives toward an absolute perfection molded through years of training and dedication. The mission-driven culture of Silicon Valley coupled with Google’s edging technology and creativity really helped us build a product that not only encompasses verticals but also transcends cultures. Swit is growing at an unprecedented rate, and we hope to join the long list of successful AAPI entrepreneurs here. Swit’s close network with the AAPI community wouldn’t have been possible without Google support. We are grateful for this collaborative environment, and we hope to become the next-generation ambassador for collaboration after Google.”
Check out more from Swit in their founder story.
Founder: Min Chen
Description: Wisy develops technology to bring digital efficiency into the physical world, supporting consumer products businesses and making them thrive in the new economy. All of us have a bad experience when we can't find the product we want to buy. That is a $1.9T problem in the consumer-packaged goods industry that Wisy is solving with AI and analytics to help manufacturers and retailers sell more by reducing out-of-stocks and waste at a global scale.
Why GCP: “GCP has an intuitive, easy to use interface, was lower cost, and offered preemptible instances with flexible compute options. Some of the reasons why Wisy decided to use GCP include instance and payment configurability, privacy and traffic security, cost-efficiency, and Machine Learning.
Wisy has been able to advance quickly with product development, as well as collaborate better and iterate faster in the creation of our AI models, while reducing costs by 40%. At Wisy, we are solving a problem that affects everyone who shops at a store.“
Note from the Founder: “Two years ago, I moved to San Francisco to expand my second startup, Wisy. This is when I learned that my name ‘Min’ stands for ‘minority.’ I was born in China, raised in a Black community in Panama, received scholarships to attend both Carnegie Mellon and UC Berkeley. I worked for 20 years in several countries, but I have never felt so discriminated against due to my race, ethnicity, gender and age than during my time in Silicon Valley. However, this is also the place I learned that my diverse life experience is my competitive advantage. My background enables me to recruit and relate to people in different countries, create scalable and flexible products for multinational customers, and run global operations efficiently.
My recommendation to AAPI founders is to find strength in their multicultural background. Don’t hide what makes you unique, do not limit yourselves, and do not let others limit you. You will lose your edge when trading authenticity for validation. Be proud and own your story.”
If you want to learn more about how Google Cloud can help your startup, visit our Startup Program application page here and sign up for our monthly startup newsletter to get a peek at our community activities, digital events, special offers, and more.To learn more about how you can help #StopAsianHate during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and beyond, visit their website here.