Fourteen-year-old Taarini Kaur Dang is a true example of what children can achieve if they set out to do something. An entrepreneur, author and a venture capitalist, the eighth grader has achieved much more than what most people can.
Taarini is the youngest person to win the Young American-Indian Award which she received from the Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna. She also wrote a book—’The Young Aspiring Entrepreneur’—the foreword of which is written by Intel Capital President Wendell Brooks. It contains quotes from Stanford Professor Chuck Eesley, Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer Barbara Whye, Oracle ex-President Ray Lane, TiE Global ex-Chairman Venk Shukla and author Linda Swindling. If this wasn’t enough to make any ordinary person feel even more ordinary, Taarini has also spoken at top conferences, like Google Launchpad Female Founders Summit, Collision conference, TiE Inflect, ATEA, etc.
Taarini grew up in Silicon Valley to Indian immigrant parents (both PhD). While growing up, she often accompanied her father to technology conferences and that drew her interest towards entrepreneurship. “I have been to TiECon every year for several years and 2018 was the first time that I was a speaker at TiECon,” she told SheThePeople.TV.
She is also quite a traveller as by the age of 10, she has already travelled across 10 countries, which is why she calls herself a “global traveller”.
At such an early age, she decided to start her own firm — Dang Capital — basically a VC firm. “I want to help others grow their ventures and create jobs. That is why, I created Dang Capital. I am also inspired by Elizabeth Galbut and Pocket Sun who started SoGal Ventures to invest in diversity startups,” she shared on why she became an entrepreneur.
Starting out young has its own pluses and minuses and Dang too faced her set of challenges. The initial challenge was when people did not trust her instinct that she could become an entrepreneur at an early age. “Nobody believed that I can do entrepreneurship or Venture Capital, being a girl and a young person. Everybody talked about lack of experience but nobody talked about the knowledge and aptitude (irrespective of age). I also faced gender bias despite being in Silicon Valley,” she explained.
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Her other initiatives include Million Champs, which essentially aims to create a pool of one million young entrepreneurs. “I am convinced that only entrepreneurs can solve the world biggest problems. So, I am on a mission to cultivate 1 Million Young Entrepreneurs in 10 years. And young minds are fresh and beaming with ideas and energy,” said a confident Taarini.
She also teaches entrepreneurship to young kids. Dang wrote her book while creating Million Champs. She felt, “There was something fundamental missing. Kids learn in steps! There was no good book available or a structured way for kids to learn entrepreneurship. So, I decided to write a book from a young person’s standpoint.”
On being such a young entrepreneur, Taarini said, “I actually feel the opposite! I believe that entrepreneurship should be a required course in elementary school. If you instil the spirit of creating a new venture at an early age, I bet the world will be a much better place not just financially but also socially. We will develop a new generation of creators, not just bookworms. I feel only entrepreneurship can equalize the world! Age is just a number. You can achieve a lot at any age, you are the only limiter.”
Asked if she feels any different from her peers, the feisty girl said, “No, I am not. I am a humble teenager who is having a blast in helping others. The only thing unique about me is that I don’t give up and I stay with issues longer. My mom taught me to take action instead of just talking about issues.”
“I find the whole idea of creating a robot that can operate and perform human tasks very fascinating. I would like to have a personal robot one day who will do all my mundane tasks!”
Taarini’s parents supported her passion for entrepreneurship right from the beginning. In fact, she feels that every parent in the world must spend at least 30 minutes every day to talk about entrepreneurship to their children.
Apart from speaking at international forums, Taarini has also shared space with Elon Musk’s sister Tosca Musk on a TV Show called ‘La La Land’. And she has had her interest in robotics too. “Robotics fascinated me in 7th grade as I find the whole idea of creating a robot that can operate and perform human tasks very intriguing. I would like to have a personal robot one day who will do all my mundane tasks!” she said.
While the whole world lies ahead in front of Taarini, she wants to “create a Venture Capital fund called Dang Capital for investing in youth (below age 22) and females (any age)”.
“I want to enable a world that treats its women equally. I want every young girl to have a dream because my mother taught me that girls with dreams become women with vision!”