He says the operation had two missions to start. First, it aimed to tackle misconceptions in the media, where Asian women have long been “overly sexualized and Asian men are overly emasculated, which can result in really deleterious treatment,” including, in some cases, anti-Asian hate crimes, which spiked during the pandemic. Toward that end, says Chen, Gold House now “culturally consults on the accuracy of scenes, products, and characters [associated with] basically every major Asian film and creative project.” (Related consulting fees are largely how the organization supports itself.)
Another, oft-overlooked issue Gold House immediately looked to tackle ties to the so-called bamboo ceiling, meaning the difficulty Asian Americans in the corporate world face in breaking through to upper management. While 33% of the tech industry is Asian, for example, Chen notes that only “single digits are in the C-suite,” a lopsidedness that he largely attributes to misperceptions about the success of Asian families. “People think we’re overly affluent, we overspend, we’re all smart or go to good Ivy League schools,” he said. The reality is that Asian-Pacific Islanders (APIs) “have the widest income disparity of any community. To pick on the city where I live right now, New York City, 50% of Asian people under the age of 18 live in abject poverty.”
To try and address that imbalance, Gold House has since its outset cultivated an invite-only API founder network and built for them a kind of accelerator program called Gold Rush, wherein founders received advice and mentorship without any dollars or equity exchanged.
Gold House further intends to funnel roughly a quarter of its new fund into Gold Rush, its accelerator program, which has begun to formally invest $100,000 for 5% of a startup team’s equity.
The terms are steep for a fairly new accelerator. However, founding teams who agree to its terms presumably receive access to a very broad community of top professionals across a wide spectrum of industries. (Others of the fund’s backers include the founders of Zuora, YouTube, and Twitch; C-suite execs from Sephora and OpenSea; and entertainers like SNL’s Bowen Yang.)
“If we were offered an allocation in a company that was incredibly large and outside our comfort zone, Binance would be the first call we’d make to see if there is co-investment interest,” says Feng. “We’re looking at a lot of things that are strategic to [Binance], from finance to media and obviously anything web3 related, so if our allocation is [more than we can fund], it would make sense to loop them in to [potentially] take up the rest for both financial and strategic reasons.”
Pictured above: Gold House hosts an evening to celebrate founders in its Gold Rush accelerator program.