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I started Hyphen in the summer of 2020 with humble expectations. I never expected the outpouring of interest from investors and founders that I received. My initial goal was to start an angel syndicate with a few friends, find a few investments through referrals, and in the process, hopefully help a few good companies get started. To my surprise, my announcement about Hyphen Capital ended up being viewed over 200,000 times on LinkedIn and viewed over 10,000 times on Medium.

Hyphen’s mission is to invest in and support the next generation of Asian-American founders. …


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It’s become very trendy to start a company in the past decade. People who would have gone to Wall Street or law school are now flocking to apply to Y Combinator instead. With the pandemic and everyone working remotely, the virus isn’t the only thing that’s spreading; the entrepreneurial DNA is also leaving Silicon Valley. Even though I will encourage almost anyone to start their own business, I will be the first to say that it’s not for everyone. As many have learned, the highs are very high but the lows are very low. Nothing is more exhilarating than when…


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Photograph: Daniel Brennan

Let me tell you a story: Earlier this summer, my friend introduced me to a talented young Taiwanese-American chef named Eric Huang. He had cooked at Cafe Boulud with Daniel Boulud, Gramercy Tavern with Michael Anthony, and Eleven Madison Park with Daniel Humm. I found out later that he went to Juilliard for cello and graduated from Northwestern University. He was also an exceptional writer from what I could read on his Instagram posts. This guy was the real deal and all sorts of talented.

Eric wanted advice and feedback on his business plan for Anzhu, a high-end Chinese restaurant…


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Over the past decade, I’ve been building a community of Asian-American founders in Silicon Valley. It started out with a small dinner I arranged with a few of my fellow founders when I was working on my first company. At the time, I felt like I was lacking community with other founders, especially those who had a shared cultural upbringing and challenges. I’ve shared a bit about my experience in my essay Bamboo Ceiling? Build Your Own House. There are many groups for other founder communities but I wasn’t aware of any specifically for East or Southeast Asian-American founders. Our…


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Back in July of 2019, a meme was born from a Twitter thread from Accel India general partner Shekhar Kirani. It was widely mocked and ridiculed by those who thought that the concept of a 10x engineer was rooted in unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of engineers. Kirani was attempting to call out what would make an ideal engineer, one who is focused, efficient, productive, full-stack, quick to learn and extremely knowledgeable about their code. But he also stereotyped them as unable to work with people (hate meetings, poor team players, bad mentors). …


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We are living in truly uncertain times. The world has been turned upside down by a pandemic from COVID-19. College seniors are missing their graduations and entering a challenging job market where companies are downsizing to survive the economic standstill unlike the world has ever seen before. The real unemployment rate of the U.S. is likely over 20%, a level not seen since the Great Depression. One could look at the news with hopelessness or they can embrace the opportunity. During the Great Recession (2008–2010), people took lemons and turned them into Uber, WhatsApp, Slack, Pinterest, Square and Venmo. …


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I have always enjoyed writing. I found it cathartic to release all of these thoughts and ideas trapped inside my head. I first published on Blogger, then on Xanga, then on my own hosted Wordpress site. When I first started writing on Medium, it was simply because it was a more elegant publishing experience. All of the other platforms seemed to get bloated with features and clutter. Medium was clean and simple. It was about the writing and not the bells and whistles. One background color, one font color, one font type. I was drawn by the quality of writing…


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I love restaurants. I love reading about them, I love watching Netflix documentaries about them, and most of all I love eating at them. Do I have any business starting a company in the restaurant industry? Not really. I am merely a fanboy. The most time I’ve spent behind the scenes of a restaurant operation was when I was a delivery boy in high school for Lotus Garden in New Jersey. That does not make me a domain expert by any stretch of the imagination. When I started my current company Pared, I was like most entrepreneurs out there, looking…


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I am an extrovert. I love meeting new people. As a result, I have been very fortunate to build an extensive network. The older I get, the more I realize how much this network has helped me get to where I am today. People underestimate the value of networking in their success. Most would say absolute success (vs. relative success) is the result of a combination of talent, hard work and luck. If you don’t have any talent, you are unlikely to offer anything of value to others. If you don’t work hard, you can’t hone your talent and build…


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Image Credit: Showtime for one of the best shows on television.

I received such a great response for my last essay about marketplaces, Not All Marketplaces are Created Equal: Tales from a Marketplace Founder, that I was inspired to write some more! I talked about all the things that make a marketplace attractive for disruption, now I’d like to dig deeper into how to find the right one to go after.

I’m making the assumption that you want to build a huge company that would require raising venture capital to grow and scale, which may not necessarily be for everyone. There are plenty of valid reasons to go after a niche…

Dave Lu

Co-founder @ Pared. Lead @ Hyphen Capital. Proud Taiwanese-American dad. Passionate about marketplaces and communities.

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