J. Kelly Hoey

Innovator Insights: Giang Nguyen @giangngyn, Co-founder of Vest

Name: Giang Nguyen Title: CEO | Co-founder of Vest Twitter: @giangngyn

Giang Nguyen is a self-described as “a Vietnamese girl in Mexico City”, an entrepreneur working on fintech + financial inclusion in Latin America via her startup Vest.mx. I met Giang in New York City when she was pitching Vest in front of a crowded room of investors and advisors — and knew from her pitch, she was an entrepreneur to watch (as well as learn from).

Me: Why are you an entrepreneur?

Giang: I’ve always felt that the purpose of my life is to create a positive impact in the world. As a child, I wanted to be a prophet (like Marjane from Persepolis). In grade school, I wanted to be the president of Vietnam. When I got to high school, I learned about Economics and realized that entrepreneurs and businesses made the world go round. Through new incentive and business models, entrepreneurs are able to create lasting changes in the world. That’s how and why I decided to be an entrepreneur.

Me: What problem would you like solved?

Giang: Access to opportunity in the “developing world,” “emerging markets,” or however you’d like to classify countries like Vietnam, Mexico… etc.

I don’t think there will ever be an optimal solution for “Access to Opportunity” in any country. However, I’ve met a lot of people with great passions and the diligence to move mountains, yet lack the resources to make an impact. I think the world would be more productive, efficient, and satisfied if more people had the opportunity to meet a greater potential.

Me: Advice you’d wished you’d had or had followed?

Giang: There has been plenty of advice that would have saved me time and headaches. However, all the accumulated mistakes or wrong turns have taken me to where I am now. So it’s a bit hard to “wish” I had followed them.

Some of the best advice I’ve gotten is to “Be yourself.” It sounds simple and cliche, but to “be yourself” you first have to take the time to understand what you stand for and what your standards are. Having that clarity provides a great “north star” for future decisions or stressful situations.

Me: What does success look like for you?

Giang: Success for me means contributing something positive to other’s lives. On a personal level, it means being able to empower or inspire the people I meet and work with on a daily basis. From a business perspective, it’s being able to provide a product or service that creates new value and impacts people in a meaningful way.

Me: Who are your heroes?

Giang: 1. The people in my life who’ve demonstrated the courage and put in the work to follow their passions. They inspire me most. 2. The many people who have shown me their kindness and generosity simply because they could (time, efforts, resources…etc). It takes a village — I wouldn’t be here now or anywhere in the future without the help of others. 3. The people who’ve looked at me and seen good things worth believing in.

Me: What is your best discovery?

Giang: You can make your own nut-butters at Whole Foods. — So much fun. Professionally speaking? Slack — does wonders for internal communication.

Me: What would the title of your biography be?

Giang: “Something new everyday.”

Me: What is your biggest regret?

Giang: I am always looking to learn, and my most painful mistakes have been some of the best lessons. I couldn’t say I regret any of them.

Me: Anything else we should know about (product launch, crowdfunding or marketing campaign, recent interview, job openings..)?

Giang: I’ll always have 5 minutes to chat. Shoot me an email if you’d like to connect!


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