Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans have been an important part of the Silicon Valley since its early development. It began with the thousands of Vietnamese refugees and immigrant assembly workers in companies like IBM and Hewlett Packard. Living and working in and around San Jose, the city with the largest population of Vietnamese outside of Viet Nam, this same population then became engineers and innovators for the emerging tech industry centered around Silicon Valley, with breakout early successes including Trung Dung’s OnDisplay. Vietnamese Americans were then joined by trained Vietnamese techies and they worked side by side for decades – even bringing their knowledge back to Viet Nam, as in the case of Truong Gia Binh’s FTP. With a new outlook for technological development internationally and inspired by the pace and promise of start-ups, Viet Nam has been creating its own Silicon Valleys throughout the nation, such as Saigon Silicon Valley.
The New Viet Nam Studies Initiative is proud to host a symposium on the historical impact of Silicon Valley on the Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans, and a look into future collaborations between the United States and Viet Nam with these same populations. Why is the history of Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans in the Silicon Valley not well known? How are Vietnamese Americans connecting back to Viet Nam through the tech industry? What models has Viet Nam adopted and what innovations are sprouting from their burgeoning tech industry?
Panelists will include:
- Phu Hoang: Phu Hoang is an experienced Silicon Valley technology executive, advisor, and angel investor. Most recently, Phu was Co-founder and CEO of DataTorrent, a real-time Big Data stream processing and decision making platform on top of Hadoop. Phu founded DataTorrent in 2012, raised multiple rounds of Silicon Valley venture funding, and built a platform with many Fortune top 50 customers. In 1996, Phu was hired as the 5th engineer at Yahoo, and over a 12 year span there, he became Executive Vice President and GM, overseeing 3000 engineers in the development of all of Yahoo's consumer and advertising products worldwide. He lead the development of many of Yahoo!’s core products such as Search, Ad Systems, Mail, Sports, Finance, Messenger and Groups. Phu has also worked as Executive Chairman of Buysight, a leading provider of real-time retargeting and intent-based display advertising, as well as leading led the Engineering and Product groups at Kiva.org, a non-profit whose mission is to alleviate global poverty through micro-financing of entrepreneurs world-wide.
- Lucy Keoni: One of the youngest professionals to be named to Silicon Valley Business Journal’s “Top 40 under 40” list, Lucy’s well-rounded business experience has culminated in focused efforts towards initiatives, products, and services for under-represented, under-served populations. She is the Co-founder of StartUpRising and Vietnamese Women in Tech, Co-organizer of the VietTech Summit, current Director of Customer Success at Teamable.
- Hong Nguyen-Phuong: A veteran of Silicon Valley, Hong has worked at startups, Sun Microsystems, Symantec, and PG&E in software domains ranging from internet infrastructure, animation, security, utility infrastructure, GIS, and blockchain exchange. He is currently the Editor In Chief at TheCryptoSight.
- Stella Tran: Stella is currently working with Acumen, a venture capital fund that invests in entrepreneurs creating sustainable solutions to poverty. She joined the firm’s U.S. portfolio team to find health, financial service, and workforce development (e.g., education, future of work, people ops, etc) innovations that serve low-income Americans. Prior to joining Acumen, Stella was an Associate with Just Business, the venture arm of the non-profit Not For Sale, where she invested in companies committed to ethical sourcing and re-investing in the communities in which they sourced. As an Associate, she provided strategic support to portfolio companies through her diverse and interdisciplinary experiences in product, research, operations, and finance. Stella also has had the opportunity to work with social entrepreneurs from around the world, through product and design roles at the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara and the Ayllu Initiative.