2019 Great Immigrants Recipient

Theresia Gouw
Cofounder, Aspect Ventures
Born in:

As America’s leading female venture capitalist, Theresia Gouw believes that investment fuels the American dream of opportunity and growth. Gouw’s own life story is an illustration of that possibility. Her family fled Indonesia when she was three to escape the persecution of the country’s ethnic Chinese minority under the Suharto dictatorship. A dentist and a nurse in Jakarta, her parents settled outside Buffalo, New York, working as a dishwasher and a waitress before her father re-earned his dental certification in the United States. Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women” and Time’s “40 Most Influential Minds in Tech,” Gouw became the first female partner at the venture capital firm Accel, an early investor in Facebook. At Accel she worked on initial public offerings and acquisitions of firms including Imperva, LearnVest, and Trulia. In 2014 she cofounded the Silicon Valley–based Aspect Ventures, where she has led the firm’s investments in Cato Networks, Crew, Deserve, Exabeam, The Muse, PredictHQ, and Shieldx. Gouw is an active supporter of her alma mater, Brown University, where she serves as treasurer of the corporation board, and of Donorschoose.org, where she serves as vice chair of the board. She is particularly committed to improving diversity in STEM fields, especially among underserved female groups, and is a founding member of All Raise, a nonprofit working to increase the number of female and minority founders and funders of technology-driven companies. Gouw takes a hands-on approach to her giving, supporting organizations that are open to true partnerships. As she explained to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, “I have to add more value beyond just the dollars, and it has to be with a group that wants that.… I have to believe that I can be helpful and not just write checks.”