Melissa Ran

Melissa Ran

Head of Community

I immigrated to Australia when I was 10 from Chengdu, China. I was a chubby kid who looked like a boy and I didn’t speak a word of English. Suffice to say I’ve undergone quite the transformation! Being an immigrant is a lot like being an entrepreneur - you have to build from zero a totally new reality for yourself facing completely unfamiliar environments. Once you’ve accomplished it, the sense of empowerment will stay with you forever and you’ll be less phased by any new challenges that life throws at you.

I started my career at a time when Australia’s startup & VC scene began experiencing a new boom around 2011-2012. This meant that I didn’t have to leave Australia to be exposed to exciting startup opportunities and I got to grow up with our sector. The thing I look forward to the most is for the founders I’ve worked with closely over the last 8 years to get the big exits in the coming few years. Then we can all be a part of a new ‘give-back’ loop to help and inspire the next generation.

Before AirTree, I worked at UNSW’s startup accelerator program. That makes me the 5th generation of the ‘Ran’ family to have worked at a university. Education is in my DNA, and I’m a huge believer in its power to transform the individual and the world. Whatever platform I am given, I hope to inspire others with it. That’s why I’m so excited about being a part of AirTree, it’s a killer platform!

As I get older, I am more appreciative of the wisdom and insights from much more experienced people. Youthful energy and imagination is important, but to really make an impact you also need experienced hands who can see around the corner as history often repeats itself. For that reason I’ve really resonated with Ray Dalio’s Principles - it’s a fantastic guide to running a business, career and life.

I’m a passionate foodie and an adventurous eater. The Sydney-based eateries I most highly recommend are: Spicy Joint Chinatown (Sichuanese/Chengdu cuisine - go check out the delicacies of my peeps!), Gold Class Daruma Grace Hotel (most underrated Japanese in Sydney) and Paramount Coffee Project Surry Hills (Hipster Cafe).

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