Sonny Vu, Former Refugee, Uses Faith to Drive Innovation

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Sonny Vu, serial entrepreneur and investor, about his work across continents to develop new technologies, processes and products that have, what he calls, “positive, planet-level impact.” This is impact that makes lives and environments safer and better, which Sonny views as being at the core of his faith. Embracing diversity, change and the unknowns of new knowledge was what Sonny’s parents instilled in him from the beginning. Their journey as refugees to the U.S., leaving under cover of darkness, sailing below deck to a camp in Malaysia, finally to be resettled in Oklahoma City, meant they were survivors, and they embraced the transformational change of life in the U.S., as hard as it was at first. People who have been through unimaginable tragedy and hardship often know how to be creative and inventive to survive, even among totally foreign lands, cultures, and languages. Transformational change is what Sonny is all about today, as you’ll discover in this week’s JobMakers.

Guest

Sonny Vu is CEO of Arevo, based in Silicon Valley, which develops products with ultrastrong, lightweight continuous carbon fiber parts manufactured at scale. Before AREVO, Sonny was President and CTO (Connected Devices) at Fossil Group which acquired Misfit, a wearable tech company he founded, for $260m. He previously founded Elemental Machines (remote process monitoring / analytics), AgaMatrix (biosensors for diabetes), and FireSpout (natural language processing). Sonny is a founder of Alabaster, with investments in 30+ deeptech startups. Previously, he worked at Microsoft Research in NLP under Kai-Fu Lee, pursued a Linguistics PhD at MIT under Noam Chomsky, and studied math at UIUC.

Get new episodes of JobMakers in your inbox!

Related Content:

David Keane On How Taking Risks On Immigrants Pays Off

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with David Keane, immigrant from Australia and founder of Bigtincan, an artificial-intelligence-powered sales enablement platform for leading companies worldwide. David believes that what makes the U.S. special is its culture both of welcoming immigrants and being willing to try new things, to take risks.

Johan Norberg on How Diversity Drives Progress

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Johan Norberg, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Open: The Story of Human Progress. They discuss the many ways in which America is better off because it has been open to the exchange of ideas and skills that created cures, machinery, and technology.

Jeff Farrah on Why We Need a Start-Up Visa

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Jeff Farrah, General Counsel at the National Venture Capital Association, a D.C.-based group that advocates for public policy supportive of American entrepreneurship.

Carlos Castro: From Crossing the Border to Owning a Business

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Carlos Castro, president and CEO of Todos Supermarket in Woodbridge, Virginia, a successful business employing more than 200 people. He describes the perilous conditions in his native El Salvador, why he crossed the border to America, and why immigrant business owners tend to hire people like them, in this week’s JobMakers.

Alex Nowrasteh on How Immigration Is a Boon to the U.S.

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Alex Nowrasteh, the Cato Institute’s director of immigration studies and author of “The Most Common Arguments Against Immigration and Why They’re Wrong.” This week, Alex hones in on a fact that research has consistently found: that immigrants benefit Americans. And, based on his many years of speaking on this topic to anti-immigrant audiences, he provides insight on where anti-immigrant arguments really come from, as you’ll find out in this week’s JobMakers.

Alex Nowrasteh on What We Get Wrong About Immigrants

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Alex Nowrasteh, the Cato Institute’s director of immigration studies and author of “The Most Common Arguments Against Immigration and Why They’re Wrong.” This is the first of a two-part conversation, and some of what you’re about to hear might surprise you. Alex knows that. But getting truth and facts out there is paramount in advancing sensible policies that benefit all Americans, new or old, as you’ll discover in this week's JobMakers.

Larry Kim’s One-Way Ticket to the American Dream

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Larry Kim, founder of WordStream in Boston, which was acquired for $150 million, and MobileMonkey, a chatbot marketing platform for marketing and customer support on Facebook Messenger, web chat and SMS.

Mayor Christenson on How Immigrants Enrich His City

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Gary Christenson, Mayor of Malden, the second most diverse city in Massachusetts, with almost 43 percent of its residents born outside of the United States. It’s also home to The Immigrant Learning Center, the co-producer of this podcast. It’s always been a gateway city for immigrants and refugees, and it is this diversity that gives Malden its strength. Mayor Christenson looks to the revitalization of downtown with its disproportionate number of immigrant-owned businesses, and talks with us about managing the relationships between long-time residents and new immigrants, the reaction of the city to hate crimes after the Boston Marathon bombing, how much immigrants have given back to their new home, and his stance on sanctuary cities, in this week’s JobMakers.

John Dearie: Halt Immigration? Fall Behind

This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with John Dearie, founder and president of the Center for American Entrepreneurship, a Washington, D.C.-based research, policy and advocacy organization. Immigration is core to his mission to build a policy environment that promotes entrepreneurship because he knows all too well that the United States was and continues to be built by entrepreneurial immigrants who had the drive and determination to pick up, leave everything they know behind, and build a new life in a new homeland.

Bernat Olle Gets a Visa to Improve the World

This week on JobMakers, Host Denzil Mohammed talks with Dr. Bernat Olle, co-founder and CEO of Vedanta Biosciences, about his journey from Catalonia, Spain, to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he continued his Chemical Engineering studies at MIT. Navigating the complex immigration system while seeking purpose in his career, he eventually found his calling and was lucky enough to remain in the U.S. to see it through: designing a new class of medicines to modulate the human microbiome.