At 14 years old, many of us were fighting through puberty and navigating the politics of high school. But at 14, Taarini Dang is already a CEO, a venture capitalist, a book author and an accomplished speaker at tech conferences around the world.
Her Twitter feed features retweets from Warren Buffett, Vala Afshar, Mike Pence and more. It is reflective of her mature thinking and passion for entrepreneurship and leadership.
But she did admit in an interview with Mercury News that whenever she isn’t busy being a CEO of her venture capital firm Dang Capital and her startup, Million Champs, she indulges in some Netflix at her home in San Jose.
Her favourite show is ‘Supergirl’. As Supergirl is a strong woman main character, in what is traditionally a very male role, Taarini can relate.
With so many men as CEOs and venture capitalists, Taarini is breaking stereotypes everywhere.
Taarini Dang: Breaking barriers and gender stereotypes
Even from a young age, she realised gender stereotypes society placed on women and she didn’t want to conform to it.
Her friends got Barbies and other dolls, but Dang’s childhood was filled with robots, LEGOs and science experiments.
“My friends thought I was weird,” Dang said, “because robotics and science are typically a man’s game.”
Of course, growing up in Silicon Valley with parents who speak tech over dinner is a large part of her grooming to follow in their footsteps. She could have taken the typical teenage girl path and focused a lot on boys and primping.
But instead, she pursued a path in STEM, which ultimately led her to start her two companies.
She was on the robotics team at her middle school. Out of the 50 students on the team, there are only 10 girls. Her belief is that there are few women in the STEM fields compared with men is because many girls are conditioned from a young age to prioritise their outward appearance over work in order to fit society’s standards of beauty.
“As a young child, Disney is so popular,” Taarini said. “We idolise these princesses, who are just sitting down and waiting for their Prince Charming. They don’t talk or do anything of substance, and that’s what young girls play with and are introduced to.”
Not wanting to go down the same path, she started her company Million Champs when she was in the seventh grade. She was further incensed by society’s view on success when a friend’s older sister got more attention for finishing as runner-up in the Miss Santa Clara pageant.
She may not be getting the attention of her peers at school, but she is definitely making waves and making her mark with the rest of the world.
Taarini Dang: Making her mark in the world
Today, Taarini is a Venture Fellow at SoGal Ventures, which is world’s first female millennial-led cross-border VC firm investing in diverse startups. And did we mention, she has already raised US$100k for her future venture fund?
She is also is the youngest person to win the Young American-Indian Award, which she received from the Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna.
She has written a book (The Young Aspiring Entrepreneur) which has a foreword from Intel Capital President Wendell Brooks and quotes from Stanford Professor Chuck Eesley, Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer Barbara Whye, Oracle ex-President Ray Lane, TiE Global ex-Chairman Venk Shukla and author Linda Swindling. And she is now working on her second book.
On top of all of that, she is an invited speaker at top conferences, like Google Launchpad Female Founders Summit, Collision conference, TiE Inflect, ATEA, and more.
You go, girl! Taarini Dang, you’re an absolute inspiration to women all around the world.
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