A Dinner With Nanxi Liu

On October 2, Nanxi Liu came to the Kravis Leadership Institute to talk about her journey as an entrepreneur and social innovator.

On October 2, Nanxi Liu came to the Kravis Leadership Institute to talk about her journey as an entrepreneur and social innovator.

By Josh Meadows '20 & Paloma Pineda '19

On the evening of Monday October 2nd, we had the opportunity to host and hear from Nanxi Liu, co-founder of Nanoly Bioscience and Enplug, Inc. It’s hard to keep up with her since she’s barely older than us and she’s already launched 2 successful ventures with offices all over the world. She was featured in Forbes, won numerous awards as a beauty queen, musician and producer including an Emmy!

Nanxi gave the listeners a lot of great advice but if there’s one thing in particular that stood out, it would have to be the importance of networking and building a strong team. Nanxi told us stories of how, even when she wasn’t entirely sure of her direction, she would surround herself with people engaging in innovative problem-solving. Similarly, she would always try to associate herself with people with the largest network as a way of further expanding her own connections. Ultimately, Nanxi encouraged us to see that when you’re surrounded by innovative people, you then have the potential to get involved in their innovative ideas. This idea was particularly profound when Nanxi admitted that the current company she co-founded, Enplug, Inc., was in fact based on someone else’s idea. Regardless, she had the right skills and was connected to the right network to get the job done.

Similarly, Nanxi encouraged us to look at networking not just as an opportunity to connect with new people in similar situations but also as an opportunity to connect with people who have accomplished goals similar to those you are trying to achieve. That is to say, when networking as a student, don’t feel as though you should only be networking with other students… Instead, try to connect with people such as CEOs and accomplished changemakers. Not only are these the people who know how to achieve success, but they’re also the people who have the resources to start new ventures. Nanxi told us the story of how when she was interning with Goldman Sachs, she would ride the elevator just so she would have the opportunity to talk to the executives riding along with her. She didn’t listen to her supervisor who said he’d try to get her a conversation with the higher-ups, instead, she took control!

Finally, Nanxi encouraged us to look at entrepreneurship as team building. Everyone has a set of skills that they uniquely possess and utilize. A good team comes from connecting individuals with complementary skill-sets. It’s important to have clearly defined roles and that those roles complement each individual’s skills. Once you’ve established a team with clearly defined roles, all that’s left is to make sure the team has the motivation to succeed. According to Nanxi in regards to importance: first comes team, then comes motivation!

We feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to host Nanxi. It’s inspiring to see someone so young and close to where we are in our own entrepreneurial careers be so successful.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Build a great network
  • Things she looks at when she hires people: extremely talented in one thing and  one of the best people in the industry and integrity
  • Learn from top executives and don’t be afraid to ask advice or funding for your startup
  • Team is the most important component in a startup, second is motivation
  • Be aware of your competitor, and make sure anything you build in the same field is better