I met Simon in Techstar's "Startup Next" program in Seattle this winter. "Startup Next" is the #1 startup pre-acceleration program in the world, providing superior mentorship and access to a global network of investors and founders. Simon's company, CakeCodes, was one of nine companies chosen to participate in this highly competitive program (posed2, Inc., was another). His gentle but spirited style caught my eye early, but it was when I heard about his food truck from someone outside our startup program that I realized I wanted to share his story with others. Here it is. Simon. In his own words.
My name is Simon Yu, I am 24 years old and I am a recent graduate of University of Washington. I have had an entrepreneurial passion from a very early age. My parents never had much income, and so I always had to find the money to buy the things I wanted. Watching my parents work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, taught me respect for their strong work ethic and it has always come naturally to me to work hard. Even when I was young, I hustled to earn money from different side jobs, as much as possible.
My parents had a small business that began to fail when I was 19, which forced me to drop out of college as a sophomore and find a full time job to save money for tuition. While I was working as a bank teller, I really wanted to push to realize my entrepreneurial dream. I started delivering Korean tacos to my friends and students at the UW at nights and weekends, after my day job. Eventually, I was able to turn that side gig into a popular Seattle food truck, which I still maintain today.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Turning my first business from $100 borrowed my dad into a half a million dollar business.
What is your greatest fear?
World War 3.
Which living person do you most admire?
Who are your heroes in real life?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Choosing to live in a bubble; being afraid to take risks.
What is your favorite journey?
Venturing into the unknown.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
A college degree.
What is your greatest regret?
Not trying harder in high school.
What is your current state of mind?
Intrigued and driven.
If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
Live closer to each other.
What is your most treasured possession?
Where would you like to live?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Ability to feel empathy.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Who is your favorite writer?
Robert Kiyosaki. "The Rich Dad."
What is your motto?
“If we have the technology to send robots to space, we can find a solution to this problem.”