Home Venture Capital A Public Service Announcement And Reintroduction Of AAPI By Gold House

A Public Service Announcement And Reintroduction Of AAPI By Gold House

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On the eve of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Gold House, the leading cultural ecosystem that unites, invests in, and champions AAPI creators, founders, and social impact leaders, partnered with Nasdaq to host the Gold Power Summit. Bing Chen, Gold House CEO & CoFounder and Sehr Thadhani, Chief Digital Officer of Nasdaq, kicked off the summit with a bang by sharing two impressive statistics about the AAPI community: Forty percent of the companies that went public in the past two years in the U.S. have had an AAPI cofounder (Source: Nasdaq and NYSE), and over forty percent of the 2023 Forbes Midas List are Asian venture capitalists; most of those cofounders and investors are members and investors in Gold House. Then Chen rang the Nasdaq Closing Bell with 200 members of the Gold House community. Three days later, the Empire State Building shined in bright gold lights to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month as well as two dozen other towers from the Willis Tower in Chicago to Seoul City Hall. This week, Chen spoke about the importance of diversity and representation at the Milken Global Conference. The series of events echoed Jay-Z’s iconic lyrics “Allow me to reintroduce myself” providing a reintroduction of the AAPI community to the media and business communities. The strategically designed ecosystem, a “Blueprint 3” if you will, features: 1) mass media change through vehicles like Gold Open, 2) economic empowerment through Gold House Ventures, and 3) unity across generations with Gold House Futures – plus the amplification of Gold Renegades and an A100 Gala later this month. Gold House is flexing its gold power and connecting industries to build a more equitable, inclusive, and aspirational tomorrow for all by powering stories, community, businesses, and unity.

A Reintroduction and Rally

Despite our success and the popularity of many elements of our culture, the AAPI community has largely been invisible — without a strong voice, recognition, representation, and diversity consideration. It’s important to share our stories and advocate for what we care about, like the #StopAsianHate campaign. At last week’s Gold Power Summit, Stephanie Mehta, the CEO of Mansueto Ventures (owner of Fast Co. & Inc.), said, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it. News organizations and fiction storytellers (Hollywood) have a responsibility to portray our stories of achievement and aspiration. When people see us achieving, that helps even the playing field.” Mehta also discussed the importance of community when anti-AAPI hate and violence were rising at alarming rates during the pandemic. She said that’s when the community reminded society that our people were frontline workers.

Wesley Chan, Managing Director of FPV Ventures, emphasized the importance of taking a proactive approach to representation. He said, “It’s important for AAPI female founders to realize that Melanie Perkins, who co-founded Canva and built it into a decacorn, is Asian. Perkins is also from Perth, Australia, not Silicon Valley. When they see her, they will realize they can do it too.”

Gold Open

“Hollywood misses out on $2-4 billion annually by not investing in the Asian Pacific diaspora. And this could easily be $8-10 billion by the end of the decade, ” said Michael Park, a Senior Partner at McKinsey from a recently-launched collaborative study between his firm and Gold House. Economic investment is a strategic imperative and a crucial part of authentic and prominent representation of the AAPI community. Due to their power to shape public opinion, the media and entertainment industries are crucial in combating harmful stereotypes and broadening impressions of AAPI identities in society.

To promote powerful portrayals of the community, Gold House created a slate of research and consulting practices on top of Gold Open, a platform to ensure the success of AAPI-led films and to manufacture an AAPI film market with top AAPI creatives. “Galvanizing the community through buying out theaters and donating tickets created not just a moment for a movie but a movement for our people,” said Jon M. Chu who directed “Crazy Rich Asians,” the first film launched with Gold Open. “Gold Open was born in front of my eyes and laid the groundwork for action (to use a Hollywood term) and for concrete solutions that showed Hollywood it could change. It serves as the model example of the power that our very diverse AAPI community can form when we link arms.”

The results speak for themselves: Gold Open has driven more than three dozen AAPI-led films to debut with box office success, including “The Farewell,” “Parasite,” which won four Academy Awards including Best Picture, and Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (which saw record-breaking numbers this past September) and “Eternals,” the first Marvel film led by a woman of color.

Now, Gold House has won the trust of every Hollywood studio and streaming service. It has expanded its cultural consultation to advertising holding companies, video game publishers, and even Broadway; as well as its marketing services to awards seasons for AAPI films, series with the Television Academy, and music with the Gold Music Alliance and the Recording Academy. With a portfolio boasting more than 100 film and television ventures, Gold House is now investing in independent film and independent media companies to change greenlight power through its Creative Equity Fund.

Since maintaining success over time requires a steady stream of opportunities, Gold House collaborates with major international media firms, including Netflix, Sundance, Spotify, and Endeavor, to establish creative accelerators spanning various fields such as film, music, and art. These initiatives aim to provide independent artists with equal access to funding, support services, mentorship, and promotional platforms, thereby uplifting emerging talent.

Our Personal Stories Can Generate Mass Appeal

Previously, it was widely accepted that our stories and products could not generate mass appeal. However, during the Power of Gold Creative panel, Filmmaker Bao Nguyen Be (Water, The Greatest Night In Pop) offered advice on how to tell a mass story. “Be personal. It may be controversial, but some film schools say that you need to make stories for all audiences. However, at my East Coast film school, we are taught that we’re the only audience that matters. My anchor is: what do I want to watch? This makes me proactive rather than reactive to flows in the industry, ” said Nguyen. There is no question that our stories, culture, and talent can generate mass appeal.

In a similar vein, in a 2009 New York Times interview, Huy Fong Founder and Sriracha sauce creator David Tran summed up this product development process as one of personalization and adaptation: “It’s not a Thai sriracha. It’s my sriracha.” He Americanized his Sriracha sauce with a broader definition of “American,” and he created a product that “reflects the Southeast Asian refugee community thriving in Southern California. His sauce embodies the realities of being an immigrant entrepreneur in America, a marketplace in Southern California devoid of sauces that spoke to the Vietnamese and other Southeast Asian refugees living there, and a climate suitable for growing world-class jalapeños. Without a sales team, Huy Fong’s Sriracha became a global phenomenon and is one of the most popular American condiments.

Overcoming the Glass and Bamboo Ceilings, Less VC Funding For AAPI Founders, and Asian Grit

Due to the model minority myth, AAPIs are stereotyped as diligent, passive, and rule-abiding -– instead of creative, assertive, and visionary, which are natural leadership traits. Asians–particularly Asian women–are the least likely to be promoted to management according to a study by Harvard Business Review. BCG research has found a lack of AAPI representation at the highest executive ranks in most industries. According to a BCG Henderson Institute survey, “Asian Americans represent only 3% of executives, far below the group’s US population share of ~6%, even though they are well represented as middle and senior managers. A lack of top decision-makers from the AAPI community, along with several cultural misperceptions, create a bamboo ceiling.” Further, the Asian diaspora experiences the widest income disparity of any group. There is a clear disconnect between how Asians are perceived in the corporate world and the impact the community can wield.

The AAPI community has built some of the world’s most successful businesses. LinkedIn, Yahoo, YouTube, Zoom, Snap, Zappos, Panda Express, DoorDash, Fitbit, and Old Navy have an AAPI founder or cofounder. More than 26% of all billion-dollar-valued startups in the last two decades had at least one AAPI cofounder, per research by Stanford’s Ilya Strebulaev -– “that AAPI entrepreneurs punch well above their weight versus the US population at large.” A report by David Teten and Katherine Boe Heuck revealed that among the world’s top 45 VC-backed exits through 2021, 33% of the 103 founders were Asian. AAPI entrepreneurs received a more significant portion of venture investments than those who were Black or Latinx, but much less than white founders, who received 75% of the entire transaction volume. Further, only 3% of venture funds are Asian-led despite comprising 20% of the workforce, citing a 41% greater difficulty to be promoted, according to a recent AAAIM study.

A Lack Of Support And Funding For AAPI Female Founders

Ida Liu, Global Head of Citi Private Bank, said, “There’s still a gap for female founders, especially AAPI female founders.” AAPI female founders have a much harder time raising money than a white male (or white female) founder would have. In 2022, startups founded by women of color received only 0.39% of VC funds.” Most diversity funds and initiatives exclude AAPI female founders. They are typically only reserved for funding Black, Latin, and Native Americans as per Softbank’s Opportunity Fund or Andreesen Horowitz’s Talent X Opportunity Fund.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Mehta, CEO of Mansueto Ventures, noted that many AAPI women find it easier to write a check to charity than support a woman-owned startup; angel investing isn’t popular in the community, and we need to change that and be more supportive. Meanwhile, the model minority myth propagates the idea that we don’t need support within the startup ecosystem, such as diversity initiatives.

Gold House Ventures

To reconcile the disconnect, Gold House created Gold Rush, the leading AAPI founder accelerator that disrupts systemic barriers by empowering leaders to build their own tables rather than wait for a seat at the table in large public companies. In just two years, Gold Rush companies have raised over $1 billion in capital. Based on its success, the team launched a $30 million early-stage venture fund, Gold House Ventures, that counts the top Asian founders from the last decade as its investors to further ensure the inclusive allocation of capital while dismantling the gold glass ceiling. Finally, the fund also boasts several unifying services like its One House Leadership Coalition to diversify board placements for all minority leaders as well as Asia expansion benefits with their comprehensive partnership with the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Gold Futures

Media representation and economic influence are becoming increasingly intertwined. Together, they have the power to reshape culture for AAPI communities while sustaining influence economically—and the key to sustainability is in the next generation of leaders. On the heels of its success with Gold House’s entertainment and venture arms, Gold House launched Gold House Futures — a new initiative that helps ensure the success of emerging AAPI creatives, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders. By blending creativity and business in investment and distribution pipelines, Gold House Futures will provide investment, amplification, and the support of the community with leading corporations across film, art, technology, and more.

Powering of the Future with “The Blueprint 3”

“We can take the world we’ve been handed or remake it together,” said Bing Chen.”By blending industries that have been historically divided; convening communities that have been long-disparate; and seeing who we are, not as an excuse to be omitted but as a strength we can do more together.”

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