Supporting the next generation of
Asian American founders

We are founders, executives and industry leaders who invest in innovative companies at all stages.

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Our Mission

Hyphen Capital backs Asian American entrepreneurs who traditionally have been raised to play it safe, with the myth that effort leads to outcomes. These founders are tired of jumping through hoops and taking the worn down path that was planned out for them. They are no longer content with being limited by the bamboo ceiling and instead are ready to build their own houses. These are the founders who have the audacity to wave off the doubters and bet on themselves.

Most people are unaware that Asian Americans founded some of the most well-known and successful companies in the world: YouTube, LinkedIn, DoorDash, Twitch and Fitbit to name a few. Their stories are rarely told, and sometimes it even takes being called out to get coverage. Hyphen aims to make it so that these stories are no longer considered outliers but the norm, because we don't need permission to dance.

We are looking to write one of the first checks to support these builders to start on their journey, because early stage capital is often the most critical and life-changing funding they will ever receive. We don't need a lead investor, because we believe in the founders and have conviction in the work they are doing. When Hyphen invests, you get more than capital, you get access to a network of fellow founders, corporate executives, lawyers and professionals who have extensive experience, insight and access to help our portfolio companies succeed.

Our Investors

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Hyphen Capital was founded and led by Dave Lu. Dave is a Silicon Valley veteran and started his career in tech at Yahoo! in the late 90s. He sat around the corner from Jerry Yang, an entrepreneurial inspiration for many Asian Americans including himself. He went on to work at other iconic technology companies including Apple, eBay and Cisco before starting his first company Fanpop. After growing the company to 40 million users, he went on to start his second company Expo, backed by True Ventures, Uncork Capital and CRV.

Dave has always been passionate about Asian American issues. Most recently, he led the effort to take a stand against the rise in Asian hate crimes by publishing an open letter in the Wall Street Journal and rallying thousands of leaders to sign in support including President George Bush, Andre Iguodala, and CEOs of Google, LinkedIn, Foot Locker and hundreds of others. This movement led to founding Stand with Asian Americans, a non-profit focused on fighting discrimination for Asians in the workplace and communities. He also produced the Emmy-winning HBO documentary "38 at the Garden" and sits on the advisory board for the Smithsonian's Asian Pacific American Center.

Dave sensed a lack of community for founders of East and Southeast Asian descent and started Asian American Founders Circle in 2011. Inspired by his fellow founders, he wanted to do more for the next generation and pay it forward by investing in them. Thus Hyphen Capital was born.

The Hyphen Network

We've brought together a community of the most successful Asian American founders, corporate executives and leaders in the world to invest in the next generation.

Founder Testimonials

“Dave is a cornerstone of the Silicon Valley founder community. He is selfless with his time and wisdom, and has not only built successful businesses of his own, but also had a helping hand in shaping the success of many other early stage companies in his network.

Many founders turn to Dave as a sounding board for key strategic decisions, myself included. Whether it is product, branding, or growth...Dave has done it all, and he can roll up his sleeves with the best of them to add tangible value for the companies he works with.

Dave has selflessly applied this experience and skillset by giving back to the founder community for many, many years. This has naturally translated into one of the strongest networks of founders, investors, and business partners in the "Hyphen" community that he has built a career out of helping put on the map.

Dave has introduced us to early stage investors, our current banking relationships, and also helped with introductions in the sports community as well. The common thread with all of these introductions is that none of them are transactional. Every person in Dave's network is genuinely excited to help, because they want to pay forward the help he gave to them.

Dave is a great thought partner, the ultimate community-connector, and an all-around great person for any early stage startup to have on their side.”
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Nan Wang
"Having Dave on your side means you are unlocking a network of executives who actually respond to introductions. Just from one update call with Dave, we got a huge list of direct & warm strategic connections that would have taken us months to unlock otherwise. What really differentiates his network is how deeply passionate they are about lifting others as a whole community, instead of only focusing on individual financial return. We are always excited to catch up with him, and he is the first on our list with Hemster's business updates!"
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Allison Lee
"Dave has been a staunch supporter of ours and integral to Canopy’s success. Not only did he trust us before we had a complete product, but he also introduced us to our first customers via his significant network. Having been a part of Hyphen’s journey early on, I can confidently say that he is a true partner to the founders he invests in and continues to provide us with product feedback and key introductions."
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John Ling
"Dave was our first check. He invested in our category with conviction when it was contrarian to do so. Much of it stems from Dave's experience and judgment as a founder for many years. He's one of our most value-add investors with broad experience across marketing, product, and startups. He also has, as a single individual, the connections rolodex of an entire VC firm. Our second investment and 1st VC check came from an introduction Dave made, helping us to close our fundraising round successfully.
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Derek Lee
"I instantly connected with Dave, because he knows the challenges facing AAPI founders raising capital. Despite our metrics and traction, we always had to work twice as hard for half the amount. Dave immediately recognized our talent and showed his support from day one.

He gets access because his leadership is inspiring, he has strong character and he shows up for our community time and time again.

It was important to make room for Hyphen on our cap table because you always want someone like Dave in your corner. It's a mission worth supporting."
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Henry Shi
"Dave has been a long-time leader of the Asian American founders community and has also supported Persona since its earliest days. Charles and I, as Asian American founders, both understood the need for more entrepreneurial support for our community and were delighted to have the opportunity to work with Dave to forward Hyphen Capital's mission."
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Rick Song