Founder Profile: Son Ca Vu (WG16)
My biggest learning so far is how much truth there is to the phrase, “Done is better than Perfect.”
MEET SON CA VU, Tech Innovator
Son Ca Vu (WG16) the Co-Founder and CEO of Alta, an AI-powered startup whose mission is to empower anyone to build mobile apps quickly and without code.
Here at WAFFA, we proudly partnered with Son Ca to build our brand new Female Founders Shop using the Alta tech platform. It was a simple process — basically, if you know Powerpoint and Excel — you can now build a mobile app!
Son Ca identified the need for a no-code app development tool when she was working as a product manager at Zillow, Houzz and Capital One. She saw firsthand how expensive and time-consuming it can be to build a mobile applications. Son Ca learned that companies often spent more than $100k, and can take over 6 months to build the first version of their mobile app, and ortne run out of money to iterate. Alta’s no-code tool enables companies to launch mobile apps faster.
Son Ca and Alta were just chosen to be one of the 25 companies participating in the inaugural AWS Impact Accelerator for Women Founders. 25 women founders participate in this intensive eight-week program at headquarters in Seattle, WA. Startups receive up to $225k in cash along with AWS activate credits, an extensive and individually curated training curriculum, mentoring and technical guidance, introductions to Amazon leaders and teams, networking opportunities with potential investors, and ongoing advisory support.
Tell us about your company
Alta is an AI-powered platform that helps anyone design and launch mobile apps.
What inspired you to start your business — what opportunity in the market are you seeking to address?
As a former product manager at Zillow, Houzz and Capital One, I have personally seen how expensive and time-consuming it can be to build mobile applications. In interviews with other founders, I learned companies often spend more than $100,000 and 6 months to build the first version of their mobile app and often run out of money to iterate. That’s why I founded Alta, a no-code tool to help companies launch mobile apps faster.
What is it about your personal background, experience, or perspective that fuels your passion for this venture?
As someone who thrives at the intersection of business and engineering, I love working on a product that helps business users leverage advances in technology, including no-code and AI, to launch their own apps without hiring engineers. After completing my MBA at Wharton and my undergrad in Management Science & Engineering at Stanford, I strongly believe that anyone who knows PowerPoint and Excel can build an app. That’s why I’m passionate about building a simple, easy-to-use platform that anyone can use.
What are one or two of the biggest wins or most encouraging experiences you’ve had so far?
One of the biggest wins we’ve had so far was getting accepted into the AWS Impact Accelerator for Women Founders. As one of 25 companies chosen out of thousands of applicants, we received a monetary investment from AWS as well as mentorship from their business and technical teams. I have learned so much in the program and am excited about the opportunity to speak at the AWS re:Invent Conference in Las Vegas later this year.
What has been one or two of your biggest learnings so far?
My biggest learning so far is how much truth there is to the phrase “Done is better than Perfect.” As an entrepreneur, you need to wear so many hats and juggle a large number of stakeholders at the same time. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to prioritize your to-do list and let go of the need to do everything perfectly.
What is an obstacle that you are grappling with as you continue to build this venture?
Recruiting continues to be a challenge as we grow our team. While we’ve been able to hire great designers, engineers and MBA interns, we often compete with large tech companies and other startups for talent. Therefore, we need to leverage our strengths, including our remote-first culture and willingness to provide more ownership and responsibility, to find and hire great people.
What surprises have you encountered as an entrepreneur? Something out of left field?
The main surprise I have encountered as an entrepreneur is the number of people who have offered to help our startup along the way. WAFFA has been an amazing partner and has helped us share our story and product with the community. I’m also very excited to work with them on the WAFFA shop to highlight other amazing Penn and Wharton female founders.
What has been the most rewarding thing about starting your own business?
The most rewarding thing about starting my own business is creating a platform that helps other companies bring their apps to life. It’s very exciting to work with founders who are passionate about their ideas and help them design and launch their applications in Alta. I am also constantly impressed by my team and how quickly they respond to user feedback and launch new product features.