This is a pause in our regular monthly newsletter to remember Thuy Truong, once covered by BBC News as “Vietnam’s startup queen”, who passed away on January 24, 2020 at age 34.
“Thuy Muoi” (“Salty Thuy”), a serial entrepreneur, became the first CEO from Vietnam to be backed by 500 Startups when GreenGar joined our flagship accelerator program back in 2013. Thuy went on to co-found another company that was ultimately acquired, option production rights from Warner Brothers for The Bachelor Vietnam, and support entrepreneurship events in Vietnam. She was even part of the origin story of 500 Startups Vietnam, in connecting Eddie with Khailee Ng (General Partner, 500 Durians), for which the two are forever grateful.
Unfortunately, Thuy was diagnosed with lung cancer a few years ago. Devastating for sure, yet she pushed onward. She founded the Salt Cancer Initiative, with a mission to provide information, training, and emotional support for cancer patients in Vietnam. “Không ai phải chiến đấu với ung thư một mình” (“No one has to fight cancer alone”), she said.
500 Startups global CEO Christine Tsai, in remembering Thuy, called her “one of the most tenacious, positive, and passionate founders that I’ve ever had the honor to know.” You can see some of the many other tributes to Thuy below.
With heavy but full hearts,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam
“You shined so bright, even until the final days being confined at home. You gave it all, whether it was for work, an adventure, or a social project. You never failed to amaze people around you with your energy, optimism, and determination that borderlined obsession.”
– Thuc Vu, tech entrepreneur
“Thuy was a force, a light that didn’t leave anyone indifferent. […] Thuy’s passion, drive, generosity, and bravery inspired anyone who saw the film and countless people fell in love with her, as we did. […] Thuy, thank you so much for all that you have given us. We hope to honor your legacy and fight for a better world as much as you did.”
– Production team of SHE STARTED IT
“Those that knew her would say she is a beast when it came to her work ethic. Yet, to me, she would lower her guard and become one of the kindest souls I’ve ever encountered. In the last few years, it’s been her mission to truly live her life. She traveled and shared her journey with me till the very last. I love you and will see you on the other side where we will be working on more projects.”
– Danny Do, media producer
“Thuy was one of the most energetic go-getters I’ve ever met. Even while fighting lung cancer, her verve was unending. She was building startups, creating a non-profit for cancer patients in VN and trying to appreciate as much of life as she could.”
– Linh Thai, investor
“As I’m grieving this loss, I’m reminded that life, or our lives, unlike movies or books, never really end. It always opens. One’s energy and lessons get passed on to the next, and that’s how as a specific individual, one disappears, but the lessons that chi Thuy, as my master, my teacher, my ‘co’ stay in eternity.”
– Tu Ngo, education entrepreneur
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