Stephanie Sutanto brings some SGE glam into Los Angeles
January 17, 2013 by Gwendolyn Regina T
Sometime in the middle of last year, a certain Stephanie Sutanto emailed the early stage fund that I used to run, asking for internship positions. I told her that we were no longer looking for people but SGE was. I also told her that I was scooting off the next day and would be completely uncontactable for two weeks on a meditation course so we would have to chat immediately. We did, and therein lies the story of how Steph joined us.
Now Steph is back in Los Angeles in the USA, completing her college studies but she continues to help us here at SGE.
It has been awesome having her and I thought you should know more about this dynamic young lady. And, for our readers in LA, do reach out to Steph to find out more about SGE and Asia’s tech scene!
Gwen: What are you passionate about?
Steph: As absurd as it sounds, I am passionate about the human race and its potential. Yes, including you guys who are reading this post. Before I scare you away with this slightly strange confession, I want to clarify that my interest lies in how we can better leverage upon the human’s innate entrepreneurial instinct to create a more sustainable living environment of the future. It excites me whenever I come across companies who are disrupting conventions and inventing new products and services that not only better serve our needs but are heightening the quality of our lives, improving in areas that matter most such as healthcare. Major driving factors are of course technology, but education and mentorship should never be left out and all serve as valuable assets which should be as accessible as possible to everyone.
Gwen: How has life brought you to what you are doing today?
Steph: Life has a strange (cliché) way of guiding you towards your goals. Ever since a short episode that happened in primary school where I tried to dispel a cold war (aka I don’t want to be your friend anymore) between my close friends, I developed an interest in figuring out team dynamics and how best to work towards a particular goal. And sometimes, a little of “how are you doing” and relating to others often turn out to be the best in mitigating and preventing conflicts. A major stepping stone was taking a course, Game Theory and Market Competition, in Singapore Management University (SMU) during my junior college years.
That course opened my eyes to the complex world that companies live and breathe in. A single strategy could mean boasting about one’s supernormal profits or looking at others boasting of their supernormal profits. Mind-blown, that I was.
But it wasn’t until late freshman year of college that I took a more augmented interest in the startup scene. I blame (and thank) the school’s listservs I signed up for this turn in events. I was inundated with news about my school’s own incubator that just recently launched and that got me intrigued into what exactly an incubator was. So I did my research and that basically just about threw me into the world of startups.
How I got to know of SGE is a slightly embarrassing story (for me at least but I think Gwen wouldn’t mind sharing with those who might be interested) but during my internship, I learned so much more about the entrepreneurial field in Southeast Asia and its recent initiatives in nurturing young companies. Even after my internship ended, I chose to continue with SGE despite knowing I would have to juggle school, part-time work, and my other commitments because I believe this is such an exciting period in which not only are there increasingly more people willing to take risks but also significantly more people who are aware of and believe in building innovative and useful products designed to improving our lives. Can I say exciting or what?
Gwen: Tell us about the projects you are doing now.
Steph: As an undergrad, studies continue to be my first priority but I am immensely grateful for the opportunities given to me both by UCLA and SGE. Apart from SGE and the growing number of readings I have to do before classes (as fellow students would know), I am currently taking a 6-month long social entrepreneurship class in which my team is assigned to help a non-profit organization develop sustainable strategies. Also, I am in the middle of planning projects for my on-campus organizations, such as an upcoming case competition focused on green practices, and organizing a community service-oriented spring break program. On a side note, I am aiming to finish reading Mehta’s The Entrepreneurial Instinct and Stross’ The Launch Pad after belatedly realizing the first book, which I borrowed, needs to be returned to the library very soon.
Lastly, I want to give a huge shout-out to Gwen, Terence, Isaac, Bernard and the whole SGE team for being so awesome and committed to building SGE.io from the ground-up to become a valuable resource for all entrepreneurs. It takes an incredible amount of passion and motivation to accomplish what they’ve accomplished thus far, so really, this post should be all about them instead of me.
Find out more about SGE’s research arm: SGE Insights, providing customized in-depth research reports to help you navigate the business of technology in Asia.
About The Author
Gwendolyn Regina T - Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Gwen is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of SGE. Previously, she was a partner of early stage technology investment firm, Thymos Capital and she has had two exits, one of which is iHipo. She is also an investor in Padlet, a Y-Combinator startup. Gwen also sits on the Board of Advisors for the Singapore Innovation & Productivity Institute, Steering Commmittee for the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation Awards 2013, and Board of Advisors for Social Media Week 2013. A frequent public speaker, mentor and judge at various startup bootcamps, events and competitions, Gwen loves meeting founders, developers, designers and scientists across all ages. An alumnus of the National University of Singapore and its University Scholars Programme, Gwen also spent some time in Silicon Valley and is a graduate of the NUS-Stanford University overseas college programme. She is also a mentor at Polish tech startup incubator Gamma Rebels, the Singapore curator for US-headquartered StartupDigest and the Singapore Ambassador for the Sandbox Network - the leading global network of innovators under 30. Gwen has also been a Worldwide Judge for Imagine Cup - the premier student technology competition helmed by Microsoft. She has also spoken in Hong Kong at one of its largest youth conferences, MaD Asia, and was recently in Austria to help envision the future of the country's economy in 2032 on invitation from an Austrian governmental organization. Gwen speaks 3.25 languages, loves physics, travelling, dance and adventure sports. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Gwendolyn Regina T