I am one of those ‘Vietnamese boat people’.
In 1986, I was 11 years old and I illegally escaped Vietnam in a small 30-foot boat with 112 people piled on top of each other! My parents didn’t make it to the boat. First 2 days the boat was camouflaged to look like fishing boats. We were hidden inside the boat people were dumped on each other and literally drank around 8oz water in a day. Sea sickness kicked in and people started throwing on each other. The Smell of vomit and mud. I still remember that.
After coming to US, I stayed at my Uncles place, worked hard, got into MIT. I interned and upon graduation was able to go to visit my parents for first time in 11 years! Later I worked at silicon graphics and then a startup. Soon I decided I never want to work for a big company. After trying few ideas, I decided to take the leap of faith and quit my full time job. For our startup, I started out with the dreaded question “what’s for dinner”. That’s how munchies got started.
I delivered food for 2 months myself and then raised seed from our customers. I take away from my story is: “A lot of times people say you are at a disadvantage as an immigrant. I will say it’s reverse. You have overcome a lot of adversaries. Be willing to tell that story” To make a startup you need 2 things Never give up. Solve a real problem. As an immigrant, you already have one leg up.
From that dreaded boat trip from Vietnam trying to save my life to starting a company that raised 100+ M$ in funding and created 100’s of jobs, it’s been a great immigrant journey! I am very busy in general but would be happy to answer some questions every few days.