A prominent Silicon Valley investment firm has hired a college sophomore as an associate venture capitalist. Before you rush out to dump all your tech stocks in anticipation of the coming bubble crash, know this: She's a high achieving college sophomore.
Tech's largely awkward and largely male techies will be tempted to think only of her age and looks, but Ernestine Fu earned 10 merit scholarships before she started working toward an engineering degree at Stanford. The 20 year old is also coauthoring a book with a former Stanford Law School dean. She launched three independent study projects, sits on a board at State Farm and is executive director of Stanford's Student Services Division.
She landed her gig as an associate venture capitalistat Alsop Louie Partners "after meeting [partner Stewart] Alsop at a Stanford get-together in October," according to Forbes, where she has become something of a cause célèbre.
Fu is a small but important step toward diversity for Alsop Louie, where 10 of 10 listed partners are men. It's a whole other question whether an undergraduate should be directing large sums of money toward the already overfunded pool of unprofitable tech startups. Around 2:10 in the video, she says that true entrepreneurs pick up rocks from the floor to meticulously examine them. Or something.
One hopes there was more solid reasoning behind her $1.3 million funding of the social media search engine Qwhspr. Not that actual business merit has ever been terribly important in Silicon Valley. Knowing how to corner people at parties will get you at least as far in the tech world as any degree, a fact that Fu seems very much to have grasped.