Taking Risk and Investing in Yourself—with Vinnie Lauria

Stepping up to the virtual Soapbox all the way from Australia, serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Vinnie Lauria, reminded students “you can do whatever you put your mind to,” and “you can do whatever you put your mind to” (there, we said it twice, just like Vinnie’s dad). Reflecting on how a kid from Long Island who thought he’d never leave New York would end up living in and starting a company in Singapore, Vinnie challenged students to take risks and invest in themselves and that some of the things you don’t recognize as preparation when you’re young look a lot like luck later in life.

When you’re young, you don’t know how it’s been done before, therefore you can solve the problem differently. You need to be ignorant and optimistic. You need to be optimistic about the future—and you need to be ignorant of how hard it will be. 

—Vinnie Lauria

About Vinnie

Vinnie is an entrepreneur turned venture capitalist. He is a founding partner of Golden Gate Ventures, an early-stage VC firm in Southeast Asia with over 20 investments to date. He is a Kauffman Fellow and a guest lecturer at the National University of Singapore. He was rated by the Founder Institute as the highest startup mentor in Asia from a pool of 2,500 mentors.

Prior to setting up Golden Gate Ventures, Vinnie built two startups in Silicon Valley: Meetro, a location-based chat service which was dissolved with many lessons learned in 2007; and Lefora, a forum hosting platform which grew to over 100,000 communities and was acquired by CrowdGather in 2010. He founded the Silicon Valley NewTech meetup, featuring hundreds of startups to a monthly audience w/ more than 10,000 members.

Earlier in his career, Vinnie spent four years within IBM, helping to shape how IBM was approaching social software for the enterprise. Vinnie is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Engineering. Vinnie is passionate about building startup ecosystems. He joined his first startup while still in high school.

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GCE Lab School’s Soapbox Series invites thinkers, activists, orators, artists, poets, dreamers, and doers to step up and speak out about issues that matter in our neighborhoods and around the world. Have an idea that matters? We would love to have you step up to the soapbox!

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