7 Asian American Founders You Should Know About
Lunar is dedicated to amplifying the great work of founders of all backgrounds in our community. Meet this month's group of awesome founders in our network and the Twin Cities. These founders come from a wide variety of industries from food to medical technology. Here are founders we think you should know about:
Aneela Kumar is a co-founder, designer and the inspiration behind HabitAware. Aneela had trichotillomania for 20+ years. For the majority of that time, Aneela kept her BFRB (Body-Focused Repetitive Behavior) a secret. It wasn’t until Sameer, Aneela’s co-founder and husband, gently stopped her from pulling her hair that she had an ah-ha moment. Keen, a device that gently alerts users of their habits, is the first product in the world to track subconscious behavior.
Philip Xiao is the founder and CEO of HOMI, “the career center of the future”. HOMI is a digital platform to help college students and alumni build a mentor-mentee relationship. Xiao is an alumnus of Carleton College and credits the institution for taking a chance on him. As a member of Carleton’s Heywood Society, he pledges to give 5% of HOMI’s profits back to the college.
Jeff Lin is an expert in the Lunar Services Expert network and the founder of Bust Out. The Carleton College alum founded Bust Out Solutions in 2005. He had the vision of assembling a team of highly-talented individuals who share his love of technology and his passion to design. Bust Out Solutions makes web and mobile apps with rock-solid engineering and impeccable design.
Ann Kim is the chef and owner of Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza. She recently received a James Beard award, which is very prestigious in the culinary industry. Kim immigrated from Korea in the 70s and moved to Apple Valley with her family. About 4 decades later she opens her first restaurant with her partner in South Minneapolis. Three years later, she opens Hello Pizza and three years after that she opened Young Joni in North East Minneapolis.
Christina Nguyen is another Twin Cities chef who was nominated for a James Beard award this year. Before her restaurant, Hai Hai, Christina was behind the food-truck-turned-restaurant Hola Arepa. The food truck opened in 2011 and eventually evolved to a brick and mortar three years later.
Mary Grove is a co-founder of Silicon North Stars and a partner of Rise of the Rest, a seed fund that invests in passionate entrepreneurs who leverage their expertise in industries to change the way we live and work. Before coming to Minnesota, she was a foundering Director of Google for Entrepreneurs. As a partner at Rise of the Rest seed fund, she is focused on investment as well as managing the engagement platform to support the seed fund’s portfolio.
Kurt Blomberg is one of three co-founders of Monicat Data. Monicat Data specializes in data and technology consulting for creative businesses, implementing solutions that allow creative teams to spend less time planning and more time creating. Additionally, Kurt works for St. Paul Public Schools as the Restorative Practices Project Coordinator for Johnson Senior High School. He was awarded Support Staff of the Year by the St. Paul Federation of Educators in 2017.
This is just seven out of many founders making an impact in their respective industries. We look forward to seeing what these founders accomplish this year. Stay up to date on Lunar Startups cohort founders, like Kurt, and Expert Network experts, like Aneela, by following us on Twitter and LinkedIn.