From creating a community spanning LA to Singapore, we chat with Pocket Sun inaugurated in Forbes 30 under 30 to learn more about her plans to drive the global female entrepreneurship community to new heights. The sunny influencer, having graduated from University of Southern California with concentrations in Innovation and Entrepreneurship spared no second to unify her interests in both, female empowerment and startups.
SoGal, a global community for women by women, including over 3,000 members from 26 countries (and growing!) to having hosted dozens of events. The challenge never ends as she plans to launch SoGal Ventures – the first millennial-led venture capital firm, committed to supporting diverse teams solving problems in the US and Asia.
What are some of the main challenges she has experienced till date?
As SoGal continues to grow, Pocket acknowledges a majority of the challenges came from within. Like most entrepreneurs, she admits points of uncertaint, that eventually pushed her to succeed and strengthen her self-belief.
“Life will be like a chess game – this minute you’re blocked, but soon you move around”, a clever analogy that exemplifies Pocket’s entrepreneur journey and the need for perseverance. From this, she explains how entrepreneurship is a process of self-discovery, one that drives self-learning and encourages one to push through each difficulty. More so, she comments it is a “life accelerator” facilitating conversations with founders, investors and experts to learn from their philosophy and methodology.
Indeed, Pocket strives to keep her chess pieces moving, through these conversations “[that] build experience and knowledge 10X faster” and continue to bring phenomenal opportunities for personal growth!
What are some of the unexpected insights she’s received?
Right off the bat, Pocket advocates “knowing your self-worth” (well-articulated in her personal piece here: A 24 y/o VC’s advice for female entrepreneurs). Coupled with other key insights on empowerment, leadership, business relationships and entrepreneurship there is a clear path towards developing the power to change the world.
From waiting for others to change, Pocket’s insights have influenced her approach, in moving past age to “be the change you want to see.” Rather, it’s about “ [making] it work to your advantage because people want to see young people succeed; and remind you that people younger than you are going to do amazing things, and you better hurry up!”
What are some key pieces of advice she hopes to share with women looking to enter the startup scene?
First, “Find the right environment to be in!”
Having developed SoGal from the ground up and seeing it grow to unprecedented levels, Pocket feels this is a key need to counter for the loneliness and tough points in an entrepreneur’s path.
As Ben Horowitz once said, “As a startup CEO, I slept like a baby. I woke up every two hours and cried”. Pocket acknowledges the importance of being mentally prepared for the hardship. Specifically, joining an environment supportive of entrepreneurs, would give “[the] much-needed confidence boosts as well as the inspiration to keep up and stay innovative!”
Second, stay open to opportunities and look for help if need be. Capitalise on your vulnerability, stay hungry to learn and show appreciation along the way as things move forward.
And finally, she notes the importance giving yourself enough love, and forming “a killer team that supports you, as well as quality people to advise you”.
Going into 2016, what does she hope to achieve?
2016 looks to be a critical year for SoGal Ventures, with her and her partner having made 14 investments on their own thesis, and are looking to get the fund up and running. In line with this, Pocket hopes to expand the SoGal community to more global cities (with chapters in Los Angeles, New York, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong and San Francisco) “to inspire more women around the world to become entrepreneurs and investors.”
With speaking engagements set up for Hong Kong, London, Estonia, Beijing, Singapore, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley this year, she remains committed to spreading a positive message to all female entrepreneurs!