Feb 19, 2021
The Origin Story of Palm Drive Capital
The story of Palm Drive Capital started over a decade ago on the green college campus of Stanford where the three managing partners, Seamon Chan, Hendrick Lee and Nicholas Hsu met. After graduating from Stanford, they all spent the following 10 years living and working in the corporate worlds of the USA and China. They witnessed other people’s passion for starting businesses, creating products and trying to improve the world. Feeling motivated to support these brilliant ideas, Seamon and Hendrick founded Palm Drive Capital, a New-York based venture capital firm.
When choosing a name, Stanford was their main inspiration. They wanted a name that reflected their Bay area attitude and felt that the main road (Palm Drive) leading towards Stanford was a good fit. Basing themselves in New York, it was their intention that the name would help build a bridge connecting the east coast to the west, taking the more laid-back traits of the west and applying them to the work commitment of the east. They intended it to be an accurate representation of the attitudes they took to their business – open-minded, flexible and innovative.
Keeping expectations low and dreaming big
To get Palm Drive up and running took serious dedication, some tight purse strings and rooming with the parentals. The founders equate their success to their upbringing and the values that were instilled in them from an early age. Having grown up in immigrant families, they always felt they had to work harder to succeed and save every penny. Every bonus they earned from work, they saved. They moved in with their parents in the suburbs of New York and commuted for over an hour every day. They passed up on nights out and holidays. With this frugality, they were able to save enough to start experimenting, take risks and invest in small amounts.
It was clear to the founders from the start, that the key to a successful partnership is respect and not just friendship. In turn, the key to gaining respect was having the self-motivation and desire to motivate others, to always be learning and improving. Throughout their work, they continued to be inspired by other founders and pushed themselves to see what they were capable of.
Whilst building Palm Drive’s team, the co-founders reconnected with a friend from Stanford. It was not long before Nick, the third managing partner, was welcomed. With his great network and wealth of experience, the leading team of two expanded to a dynamic three.
Throughout the many road trips to Boston to attend events, and the shared rooms at friend’s apartments, their dedicated focus on what they wanted Palm Drive to be has remained the same – supporting others who are building towards a vision of a better future.
If there was a single lesson that they learnt over the years for others to take away, it is to start small, dream big, build good habits and then just go for it!