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BCinColor Hosts Sara Du for a Fireside Chat during AANHPI Heritage Month

BCinColor Sara Du

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On May 22, BCinColor, BigCommerce’s global employee resource group (ERG) for people of color and their allies, hosted Sara Du, CEO of Alloy Automation, for a fireside chat to discuss her entrepreneurial journey, the technology behind Alloy, and her experience being an Asian-American woman in the tech industry. 

A month worth celebrating

May was Asian-American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month, and BCinColor pulled out all the stops when it came to celebrating the occasion. The month was filled with activities like a pad see ew cooking course and our own Lion Dance performance (courtesy of BCinColor co-chair Helen Febrie and the Heavenly Dragon Lion Dance Association of Austin), and was capped off with a fireside chat from Sara Du. 

Insights from a founder

Along with outlining her career as a software engineer, Du spoke about what motivates her, and how she continues to grow as an entrepreneur. 

“I get asked what motivates me all the time. I think a lot of founders get asked that question because you’re basically committing to years of pain rather than just working at a normal job and potentially making more money,” she said with a laugh. “But for me it’s always been about seeing people use something that I’ve built. 

“There’s no feeling like people rushing up to me saying ‘I couldn’t find something to fix this problem I was having. Thank you!’ Building a startup and this product from the ground up has been a great vehicle for personal growth,” she explained. 

“For example, when I did my first round of fundraising, it was March of 2020. Everyone was shutting down and no VCs wanted to put money into the market. They just wanted to focus on their existing portfolios. I spent eight weeks grinding, doing 12 to 15 calls a day with new funds and investors, and it was so tiring. 

“By the end of it when we finally had our funding, I realized that through all of these different meetings and calls, I’d grown a lot as a communicator. I was still 19 at the time and barely knew what I was doing when I started, but at the end of that, I came out with money, sure, but more importantly, I actually knew how to fundraise and had the confidence to do it again,” Du continued.

BCinColor Sara Du
Michael Denton, Director of Partnership Experience at BigCommerce, interviews Sara Du, Co-Founder and CEO of Alloy Automation, at the BigCommerce office in San Francisco, California.

She also spoke to how her experience as a child of immigrant parents has given her the skills to use criticism and feedback as a way to grow. 

“Maybe a lot of people with immigrant parents or strict parents can relate; I got so much criticism growing up that nothing really bothers me now,” she said. “When you’re six or seven, it’s challenging, but now I just take it with a grain of salt, you know. Think about it from the other person’s perspective and be as receptive to feedback as possible. 

“Which is a great skill to have as a founder of a company. As the founder, I’m the biggest blocker to my business, in some ways,” she explained. “So I’m constantly looking for new ways to get as much criticism or feedback as I can in order to grow.

The final word

Everyone at BigCommerce was so grateful to hear Sara’s insights. BCinColor adds this fireside chat to a number of other talks they’ve sponsored, including a chat with BigCommerce’s own Warren Washington, and a talk with Marc Washington of Supergut, who spoke on the challenges of being a Black entrepreneur in America. 

Thanks to BCinColor setting up these fantastic interviews. They’re such great opportunities to share the unique stories of our co-workers, partners, and customers. I think I speak for everyone at BigCommerce when I say that we look forward to more of these conversations in the future.

Want to learn more about the BigCommerce ERGs? Find out here

Reed Hartman avatar

Reed Hartman is a Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce, where he uses his years of research, writing and marketing experience to help inform and educate business owners on all things ecommerce.