Paul Chen is known for bringing together technology, finance, public policy and global perspectives.
Paul is an entrepreneur, investor and business writer.
Most recently, Paul was the CEO and founder of Flourish Tech, a venture-backed startup seeking to use technology to advance human flourishing. Flourish raised $720,000 from top Silicon Valley investors. After iterating various product ideas for over a year, Paul decided to wind down the business in the summer of 2021. While this venture did not work out, Paul learned a lot and became stronger and wiser as a result.
In his previous endeavors, he has brokered deals between Asian and Western companies.
He is a former senior investment manager of Alibaba’s strategic investment team in emerging technologies, such as AI, Big Data and healthcare. He is also a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs between New York and San Francisco. He brokers deals between Asian and Western companies and specializes in bridging the innovation gap between East and West. Paul is a term member of Council on Foreign Relations, nominated by former Secretary of State Dr. Condi Rice.
Paul is an advisor at UC Berkeley Skydeck, a top global startup accelerator and venture capital fund from the University of California, Berkeley where he advises entrepreneurs on raising capital and go-to-market strategies.
Paul holds an MBA from Stanford University and Master in Public Administration from Harvard University. At Stanford, he studied entrepreneurship and venture capital from tech leaders including Google’s former CEO and Chairman Eric Schmidt. Paul also was admitted to the selective seminar on foreign policy taught by former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Outside of classes, he organized Stanford University’s China trip with 30 MBAs and their faculty advisor Myron Scholes (Nobel laureate in Economics) where the group met with business leaders from Tencent and Foxconn as well as government officials. Paul also met former First Lady Michelle Obama on this trip.
At Harvard, he studied leadership, U.S.-China relations and general diplomacy from people including Nicholas Burns, David Gergen, Graham Allison, Tony Saich, Ron Heifetz and Kevin Rudd. Paul co-chaired the student council of the university’s Center for Business and Government, directed by former U.S. Secretary of Treasury and Chief Economist of the World Bank, Larry Summers. Paul published his master's thesis in an article on China's growing innovative economy at the Harvard Kennedy School Review, which stemmed from his study advised by Stanford’s Professor Myron Scholes.
Paul was born in a rural Chinese village in Sichuan and lived in Chengdu until he was sixteen. He went to high school in Virginia and received his undergraduate education in math and economics at the University of Virginia. Paul spent his formative years in the American South and gained a deep love for American history and culture. A passionate student of Thomas Jefferson, Paul became a strong advocate for intellectual freedom, public education and Constitutional Democracy. Paul proudly became an American citizen and was thrilled to vote for the first time in his life in the 2016 Presidential Election.
Paul’s investment background
At Alibaba, Paul led investments as a senior investment manager covering North America, Europe and Israel. He completed several minority investments and one acquisition. His areas included AI, Big Data, healthcare, robotics, autonomous cars, and other deep tech. He helped lead Alibaba’s acquisition of the open source big data company data Artisans, which was Alibaba’s first acquisition in Europe.
Prior to that, Paul worked at Goldman Sachs in its Technology, Media and Telecommunications Banking Group in New York and San Francisco. He managed deals including The Blue Man Group’s sale to Cirque du Soleil; Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Qlik Technologies (US$3bn); Tapad’s sale to Telenor (US$340mm); CSC’s acquisition of xChanging (£480mm); CSRA’s separation from CSC ($8bn); GVT’s sale to Telefonica (€7.2bn).
Meeting Michelle Obama at the Stanford Center at Peking University. The former First Lady encouraged more students to travel between China and U.S.
Spring 2019 at Stanford: Top cross border investor Hans Tung of GGV, Yuechen Zhao from GSR and I led a fireside chat with leading Chinese entrepreneurs at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. We debated about the different nature of innovation between US and China, latest tech trends, regulatory environments, and pros/cons of US vs. Chinese tech companies in developing markets.
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