Editor’s note: Team GeekWire participated in the Geeks on a Train voyage between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. as part of the GROW conference, taking place this week in Vancouver. We chatted with folks along the way, talking about a variety of topics. In this installment, we caught up with Denny Luan and talked to him about his crowdfunding startup, Microryza.
What are you most excited about in technology right now? “I’m definitely excited that you can do so much so easily today — that’s what we’re doing. We’re building a lot, constantly.”
You are in the crowdfunding industry. That arena is changing quite a bit. Why do you think that it has been taking off here in the past 6-12-18 months? Why is it that everyone is talking about Kickstarter and Microryza and all these other sites? “Crowdfunding is definitely a buzzword nowadays. I think a lot of people are now waking up to the fact that there is a lot more substance to crowdfunding. I think that it’s not going anywhere. It’s going to change the way that we do a lot of stuff, from angel investing small startups to funding breast cancer research. Websites like Kiva and Kickstarter have set the bar for what’s possible with crowdfunding. We’re excited to not be a part of the crowdfunding wave but instead help shape it with science. I personally think that crowdfunding is going to be the hottest sector or industry for the next decade or so.
Why do you think Crowdfunding will explode and how did you get interested in it? “There’s a side of building things really quickly and then there’s ways you can get people involved. Crowdfunding is tapping into this internal psyche of people wanting to be involved on a microlevel. You see that a lot with stories, and involvement, and Reddit, and people sharing stuff, and I think that’s what we want to do with science. We want to make more people involved on a smaller scale. Crowdfunding is letting the average person, for the first time, have a say and know that they’re having n impact.
Why did you want to get on the train today? “We actually aren’t supposed to be on this train. We actually snuck on and wanted to meet with a few people on the train. We are kind of hanging out on the way up and will be heading back tomorrow. We’re not actually attending the GROW conference, we’re here for the networking.”
You’re part of the Seattle tech ecosystem, what do you think the region needs to become a stronger place for startups? “That’s been a really relevant question for us recently. Seattle is definitely a fantastic place for myself and my cofounders, and other young people like us. Some people see us and write us off just because how young we are, but the resources we have in Seattle and the region have been incredible.
One of the rubs is that Seattle isn’t as friendly for younger entrepeneurs. Have you found that you’ve been able to get the support you need? “It’s not that it’s not as friendly. I would say that Seattle definitely gives young entrepreneurs a chance but you have to prove that you belong at the table. We’ve been trying to hopefully prove that we deserve a spot and gain credibility by hustling and always working, and people are starting to see that. Seattle does give people a chance but, from what we’ve seen in our community is that there are a lot of up and comers that are sleepers. No one knows about them and their seriously making waves. They’re doing all kind of crazy projects and VC’s are totally oblivious to it. Most people here aren’t aware of the fact that there are a lot of young hungry people in Seattle.”
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GeekWire’s Mikey Tom, who is also on board the train, transcribed this interview.