We spend a day with Pocket Sun, Co-Founder of SoGal Ventures, to find out what
really goes on behind the scenes of the first female-led millennial venture capital firm.
Could you tell me more about yourself?
I am an investor. I invest in startups, mostly women-led startups because we really believe in the economic power that can be generated by getting women into business and getting them the proper funding that they need to succeed.
I’ve been doing that for the past three years and I’m also a community builder.
We have communities of young female entrepreneurs from all over the world.
We are in 17 different cities now and I draw a lot of energy from getting to
know these young women and helping them to realise their full potential.
Where did all of this start?
It started when I was in grad school. I was studying entrepreneurship and innovation, and that was when I realised that there is such a shortage of women in venture capital and entrepreneurship. I really did not like the fact that all of the role models were men and I felt like I could not resonate with them. That was why I started SoGal as a way to bring young women together and ensure that they get proper exposure to entrepreneurship, so that they know that this can be a career option for them as well.
"... to bring young women together and ensure that
they get proper exposure to entrepreneurship,
so that they know that this can be a career
option for them as well."
Your schedule seems pretty crazy, what is an average day like for you?
It really depends. Usually when I am in Singapore, I would have a lot of meetings. Just recently I was at a global private bank discussing about how a firm like ours could be part of their platform. Because they are trying to serve the next generation of family business holders as their private banking clients and what these clients want is something that is very different from what private banking currently offers. So what we do in investing could be an interesting addition to what private banking used to be. In general, I have full autonomy and flexibility in choosing what meetings I take and what activities I do. So it could be a day with crazy back-to-back meetings or it could be a super chill day reading articles on the industry or anything that is relevant. The good thing is that everything that I like is relevant to work, for example fashion, beauty, skin care, influencers or social media - everything is relevant to our investments because we invest in everything around young women. So even looking at Love, Bonito’s website could be work for me. Because I would want to understand the trends, how you approach the market and why people find you appealing, so that makes it fun! I am really able to do the things that I want and still be able to call it work.
What is your biggest goal for 2018?
It would be investing in more entrepreneurs and getting the new SoGal educational initiatives started in the US and China. There are a lot of exciting things happening and new things to look forward to. Everyday is very different, so I am constantly evolving and adapting to do bigger things and meeting new people to find new possibilities. I think the goal is to grow to become better, more sophisticated and more profitable, in general. And just to feel happy everyday! One of my favourite bloggers said that she doesn't measure herself against any society standards. She measures herself by three things everyday: “Did I eat good food?” “Did I feel awesome about myself?” and “Did I make people I care about feel that I am awesome?”. You don't have to hold yourself against other metrics or measurements. You just need to make sure that you feel good about yourself and you don’t disappoint people who you care about. I thought it‘s a really great philosophy.
You seem to have a very active lifestyle, do you go hiking frequently?
I try to keep fit as much as I can. When I’m back in Singapore, I would use
my Guavapass to go through all these different workout classes. But when
I am travelling, it really depends. When I was in Canada, I hiked a lot because hiking is what you do in Canada! But generally I do like to stay active and I
think Yoga is probably the most frequent activity that I do!
"You don't have to hold yourself
against other metrics or measurements.
You just need to make sure that you feel good
about yourself and you don’t disappoint
people who you care about."
Who are some of the women that inspire you?
Over the years I have definitely been able to get in touch with a lot of female role models who are very inspirational. I can’t think of just one person because I feel like I am constantly inspired by all of them and their successes. Because seeing other people doing extraordinary things make me feel that I want to push my
own limits and achieve more. At the same time, looking at them gives me a better picture of what my end game would be like, it helps me think about who I want
to be like and what is really important to me. I actually think about death a lot
too, because I feel like the world is getting really unpredictable and anything
could happen. In a place like Singapore, everything seems so stable, but when
I travel abroad it feels like anything could happen and you could disappear from this world any second. So it is really important to be happy about what you are doing and get your life goals straight.
There is something more important than work. I think I want to be in a very healthy mental state all the time and that is the most important thing. So yes, there are many women that I look up to, but I can’t point my finger to just one.
I admire all women who are perfectly happy about their lives and themselves.
Do you find it difficult to strike a balance between being a constant
go-getter and maintaining your inner happiness?
I have a pretty good balance because I love what I do. In general, I think every aspect of my work is pretty enjoyable and very fulfilling. But I like to have fun
and wants to live my life to the fullest. So when I travel for work, I make sure that
I take care of myself, so I go to massages, have great food, watch shows and just try a lot of different things like hiking, biking and yoga. Humans are not just born to work or build a capitalist society. I think we were born to find who we are, explore the world and absorb as much as we could. So having a stable life really doesn’t appeal to me much because it is really about experiencing different things and finding who you are inside and what you are able to do, mentally and physically, both at work and in life, with love and relationships.
"...it is really about experiencing different things and finding who you are inside and what you are able to do, mentally and physically, both at work and
in life, with love and relationships."
What advice do you have for women who are looking into entrepreneurship
or are at a point where they want a change in their career paths?
As women, we need to constantly self-reflect:
Are you happy with where you are? If you are not, there are two options
1. take action quickly to change your situation, or
2. change your mentality and be content.
The most painful part is when you are in between and hanging in the air because you would not be in a good state of mind. I’d also say that women need to unlearn a lot of things that we picked up over the years. Growing up, there are so many things against us and a lot of things that we are used to are wrong. They are very restrictive when it comes to what a woman can do, what type of role a woman should play and what we are supposed to do with ourselves. So I think that every grown woman should really look into feminism and learn about how to maximise your potential and not be limited by anyone or anything that tells you what you should or should not do in your life. I’d suggest breaking the rules and breaking away from your family’s constrains or your significant other’s constraints.
Women need to realise that you are first a human being and you should be
able to do whatever you want.
How would you describe your personal style? What is your go to everyday outfit?
I would say that my style is colourful and feminine but with an edge. I don’t like pieces that are too feminine. I like body hugging shapes and a good mix of femininity plus straight lines. The good thing is that because of my work, I don’t have to dress in suits on a daily basis. I don’t have to wear formal dresses to meet anyone or to fit into a professional first impression. I have a lot more freedom to express myself and my style, nobody expects me to look a certain way because the nature of my work is to be an outsider and to be kind of on the edge. So I think it’s really cool that I can show up to a work meeting with a t-shirt.
What is one quote which you live by / hold dear to your heart?
I’d say: “The best is yet to come.”
"Take action quickly to change your situation.
Change your mentality and be content."