AlleyWatch, the largest organization focused on NYC Tech, celebrates the work of the individuals that serve as a catalyst for innovation within the NYC Tech ecosystem.
MEET THE 2019 NYC TECH INFLUENCERS
Born in Singapore, raised in Australia, Shan-Lyn Ma founded Zola, the fastest growing wedding startup and all-in-one platform for managing a wedding, in her living room in Brooklyn in 2013.
After receiving her MBA at Stanford in 2006, Ma joined Yahoo to work in product marketing. Ma, as a child, had idolized Jerry Yang's immigrant story of success and Yahoo was a natural fit. A few years later, she moved to New York to join Gilt Groupe, initially leading product management and that's where she met NYC Tech Influencers Past Honoree Kevin Ryan, one of her cofounders at Zola. She went on to launch Gilt's Food and Wine business Gilt Taste, serving as a startup founder within a larger organization.
After a subsequent short stint at Chloe + Isabel, the entrepreneurial bug hit in 2013. An increasing number of her friends were getting married and Ma's archaic wedding registry experience at the time inspired the launch of Zola. She assembled a team with some of her former Gilt colleagues and the wedding industry hasn't been the same since.
Under Ma's leadership, Zola has raised ~$141M in funding from notable investors that include Thrive Capital, Goldman Sachs, NBC Universal, and Female Founders Fund. The company's reported post-money valuation at the last funding in May of 2018 was $600M and the company has scaled to close to 150 employees. The future looks bright for Zola is it continues its journey to be one of the first female-led NYC unicorns.
Outside of Zola, Shan has been active in supporting the next generation of New York entrepreneurs through angel investing, counting NYC companies like Unbound, ADAY, and Billie in her portfolio.