Fundraising is hard, no matter your skin color or sexuality or background, it’s just hard.

WHAT DO I DO WHEN I'M STRESSED: I can’t relieve any stress until I finish the work that’s causing the stress. I don’t get stressed about things once they’re out of my control, as long as I feel I’ve done everything in my power to address it. SOMETHING THAT MAKES ME LAUGH: TikTok and Twitter can have me in stitches, especially during and right after a major live event. Millennials and Gen Z can have such a creative and caustic sense of humor, and I can’t get enough of it.

Nick Chen

Creating software for the creator economy

SEEING A GAP AND FILLING IT SMARTLY. Nick Chen believes entirely digital businesses require unique and innovative resources, which is what led him to co-found Pico, a new generation of online tools and operating systems for creative, digital businesses centered on trust and community.

“The very concept of a creator business is relatively new, inspired by a wave of entrepreneurs who are running entirely digital businesses that start online, stay online, and typically offer non-tangible products where nothing is getting physically built or shipped to anyone’s door.

So things like memberships subscriptions, donation platforms, virtual event ticketing, media accounts. And while the big guys in the space [Netflix, Spotify, New York Times, etc.) are building their own dynamic platform, the little and medium businesses need democratized tools and resources.”

Which is exactly where Pico steps into the fray. “My team and I believe the creator economy, knowledge economy, whatever you want to call it, it’s going to rival the size of e-commerce one day soon enough. And Pico exists to help them grow, scale and evolve.”

Nick and his co-founder Jason Bade noticed that what used to be a dynamic and vibrant media ecosystem that supported things like journalism was not tied up with new phrases like “fake news” and privacy or ethics concerns. “So here you have a massive amount of energy tied up in just a few key places that were at their most vulnerable, it seemed. And that area didn’t just impact journalists, but creative writers, yoga instructors, the entertainment sector, marketers, artists, creative knowledge professionals, you name it.”

MORE PASSIONATE ABOUT THE TOY STORE THAN THE TOY ITSELF. And this excited Nick, because ever since he could remember, he’s wanted to start a company. Having grown up in the Bay Area near Silicon Valley, Nick was always captivated by the idea of product design and business development. “Even as a little boy, sure I was interested in toy cars, but because I wanted to start a car company, not because I liked to play with them more traditionally.”

Heading off to Stanford, he thought he’d study electrical engineering, but instead found product design far more interesting learning about the literal nuts and bolts of the larger industry. So creating Pico was not just an answer to a question he’d discovered, but a true life-long passion came to play. “We’re really focused on designing tools that help empower online businesses to build around their communities.” Which also means gaining the attention of more traditional and inventive venture capitalists and investors alike.

As an openly gay Asian American, Nick feel that he’s been lucky concerning how Pico has been able to grow and prove itself, as opposed to having to sometimes fight uphill like other diverse entrepreneurs may experience.

Because Nick also likes to point out that he’s still very early in this entrepreneurial journey. “I get that in some ways, not everyone has raised $10M, so I have some wisdom and experience, but I’m still wildly optimistic and leveling up each and every day. We still have so much more to do and grow and develop. We only realized this company could exist less than five years ago. That’s not lost on me.”

Order your own copy of the Gaingels 100, today! Our mission is to encourage greater representation and create a more diverse, equitable, and accessible venture capital ecosystem. Elevating the stories of the most inspiring amongst us is one of the ways in which we do this.

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Presented with Pride Here is the first collection of one hundred incredible and inspiring LGBTQIA+ venture-backed entrepreneurs featured in this year's Gaingels 100.