Taarini Kaur Dang, 16, is determined to prove that age is just a number in entrepreneurship. The world, she insists, is changing.
Born to Sikh parents who trace roots to India, Taarini is the founder and managing partner of Brave14 Capital — since she was in 8th grade. It is a seed-stage mission-driven venture capital firm, for which she has raised $870,000 in funding from top venture capitalists and institutional investors in the US.
Taarini was the Youth co-Chair for the recently concluded TiEcon 2021, this year’s edition of TiE Silicon Valley’s annual flagship event for entrepreneurs.
The TiE Youth track, which was co-led by Aditya Bhatt, had 14 speakers, ranging from entrepreneurs to venture capitalists to social impact champions.
Taarini told indica News that most youths follow the traditional career path because they aren’t exposed to creative and impactful paths like entrepreneurship early on.
“They are also confined to a structured school process, which is important but doesn’t provide room for the mind to think orthogonally,” she said.
“I feel we, as a society, need to guide the next generation of students, give them space to define and pursue their passions, and then empower and support them wholeheartedly in their missions. The world will be a different place if we do that.”
She has big plans for her company.
“My goal is to invest in underrepresented entrepreneurs with a special focus on female-founded companies,” she said. “I believe venture capital can help bend the tech gender gap since it has a domino effect. By investing in women and underrepresented entrepreneurs, you encourage them to prove their capabilities, make their mark on the world, and illuminate the path for other women.”
Then she added: “Warren Buffett once said: ‘I made my first investment at age 11. I was wasting my life up until then’.”
She learned about the world of startups from her parents, and she was fascinated. “I had to fight my school system for two years to let me start a school club on entrepreneurship,” she said.
What is the biggest challenge of being an entrepreneur at such a young age?
“We need to show more youth success stories to prove to the world that age is just a number,” Taarini said. “The second challenge is gender bias. Girls are told to follow a stereotype image.”
She added: “In my view, entrepreneurship is a person’s toolkit to change the world iteratively.”
She feels entrepreneurship is an art, not a science.
“It can be inborn to an extent but needs to be honed through experiences and learnings,” she said.
What is her goal? “I want to inspire more young women to enter the field of venture capital to fix the gender gap in the investment world,” Tarini replied.
“I want all young women to not be afraid to dream big, keep persevering, and not let rejections or biases distract them from their mission.”