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cover art for episode 111 with Jenny Kuan

Jennifer Kuan: How to steal Silicon Valley’s secret sauce

Silicon Valley is the home of venture capital and startups — but drive an hour or two outside of the city and you are in a different world. Take Monterey, the site of our own GCVI Summit (March 12 to 14 — listen to the episode to get a 10% discount code on tickets). It is a beautiful city with a world-famous aquarium and a gorgeous golf course, but it is a city of extremes: the median household income is $98,000 while at the same time more than 10% of the population lives in poverty.

The startups coming out of Monterey’s local institution, California State University, Monterey Bay, tend to be different from the technology companies up the road: they’re coffee producers, sustainable packaging manufacturers and main street businesses like restaurants.

But Jennifer Kuan, associate professor of entrepreneurship and economics at the university believes these startups can still use some Silicon Valley tactics. Not only is she helping launch ventures in her role as deputy director of innovation and research at the entrepreneurship hub Startup Monterey Bay, she also co-founded être Venture Capital, which focuses on women and minority-owned startups across the US.

It’s part of a field experiment to replicate Silicon Valley — Kuan’s research has unearthed a few tactics employed by the original VC community in the Bay Area that might just be the secret sauce nobody else has tried, and she tells us what that is.

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