Vietnamese-born female CEO – Co-founder of Fika – dating and social application wants to redefine the female entrepreneurial leadership model, especially in the technology field.
Denise Sandquist, from a global citizen who gave up everything in Sweden to return to Vietnam to find her biological mother, has now become the female CEO of a technology startup with Fika – dating and social application.
Give up everything at hometown to return to Vietnam and pursue aspirations
Before returning to Vietnam, Denise had a long time working in 7 different countries around the world, after graduating from the Stockholm School of Economics. From her first job as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs – one of the world’s leading financial companies, to an interpreter for the Swedish Embassy in Russia, she has accumulated many years of experience, valuable experience and knowledge. This helped Denise quickly master up to 6 languages (including Vietnamese). In particular, Vietnamese is also the bridge that helps her find her biological mother after many years of separation.
That’s the story 5 years ago, when Denise left everything to go back to Vietnam to find her lost family. The touching story of a Vietnamese-Swedish girl quickly attracted the attention of the Vietnamese public and press at that time. Thanks to the help of the online community – where strangers join hands for a common goal, Denise was able to easily find her loving mother again.
This is also the biggest motivation for Denise and the team to jointly create a dating and social app – Fika, directing users to connect and develop their relationship based on real values. With Fika, the female CEO is determined to dominate the dating and make friends application market in Vietnam through reaffirming social prejudices.
Women’s empowerment journey through connect app
During her time working and living in Vietnam, Denise quickly realized the need to find and connect with real people here, especially women. From her point of view, Vietnam is a potential market for online dating and friend making applications, but is hindered by prejudices from Asian culture.
Sweden is one of the countries that always upholds the issue of gender equality, especially the role of women in society. Because of this, the female CEO has cherished the development of Fika with her colleagues, with the desire to bring a safe online dating and friendship application for users, especially female users. In other words, Fika opens the way for everyone to connect beyond social prejudices.
“I care about real values, quality relationships, a platform for women who are not judged on how to date. Because of that, I want to be the first woman in Vietnam to change the prejudices of society about women using dating and making friends app.” – Denise shared.
Denise wants to build Fika dating platform that goes beyond social prejudices.
Reaffirming the role model of women in technology startups
As one of the few female CEOs in the field of technology startups in Vietnam, this is not a big barrier for Denise in running and leading Fika. Contrary to the image of technology startups often led by founders with male CEOs, Denise steers her company Fika with a co-authoring model, with the help of a co-founder, who is also Fika’s CTO – Oscar Xing Luo.
Denise and Oscar – the 2 founders of the dating and social application Fika
If Oscar’s strength lies in engineering and technology, Denise is the one who connects with investors, as well as the financial and general manager of Fika. Although the two are separate in expertise, they are united in vision and direction. It is this good coordination that has contributed to a Fika team working together for a common goal.
Interestingly, at Fika, more than 60% of staff are female, from interns to managers in technically specific positions. However, this has never been an obstacle to Denise and the development team. For Denise, gender biases are not as important as the determination and desire to learn, always looking for innovations towards good values for the community of each member.
Based on Fika’s core value of empowerment, Denise and the Fika team have created admirable feats together. Within 6 months of launch, the app has quickly achieved more than 400,000 downloads, continuously ranked 1st on the Google Play chart, and 4th in the lifestyle category on the App Store. The above figures are testament to the relentless efforts of the Fika team, under the guidance of the female CEO on the journey to conquer the market with practical values towards the community to become a million dollar startup in a near future.
Quotes from Soha Newspaper