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Throughout the Founder Institute's storied 14+ years in existence, we've been proud to be supported by our Local Leaders who work tirelessly to turn talented individuals around the world into top entrepreneurs. However, one of our Local Leaders has been with us since the very beginning, and has continuously proven her dedication to the Founder Institute's credo that "Great Companies Start with Great People".

That Director is Yu Li Shein

Yu Li Shein is one of the best Founder Institute Local Directors, and as such, she has been instrumental in growing FI's product, curriculum, and local programs.

In fact, while we currently operate chapters in over 180 cities worldwide, Yu Li has launched the first ever Founder Institute Japan chapter. Since then, Yu Li has also taken over the Korean Founder Institute Chapter, and has undoubtedly played a strong role in building the vibrant startup ecosystem you find in both Japan and Korea today.

Getting to Know Yu Li Better: 

Yu Li's professional path is a testament to the power of perseverance and strategic vision. Raised in a middle-class family in Myanmar, she faced numerous challenges early in her career. "Since I am a software programmer from Myanmar, I had so many challenges to become who I am now. I achieved all these things following my belief, not what the crowd believes, and focused and dedicated to making what I believe happen." 

Through her roles at the Founder Institute in Japan and Korea, Yu Li has been instrumental in nurturing ventures and elevating the Founder Institute's brand. "My leadership has been pivotal in introducing the Founder Institute's accelerator programs to Japan and Korea, quickly elevating its brand and spearheading the creation of 29 startups in under two years through a strong mentor and partner network," she shares. Her work through OpenFor.Co has connected startups with vital resources, driving significant economic impact despite the organization being a bootstrapped startup. 

Success Strategies: Key Insights for Early-Stage Founders to Thrive

Yu Li emphasizes the importance of global expansion and partnership development. She believes in constantly challenging the status quo and adapting to new strategies. "I strongly believe that not trying new things is the biggest risk for my personal, career, and business life. Whenever I feel settled down, comfortable, and doing a repeated job, it is the signal that I remind myself to start new things."

In coaching founders, Yu Li has encountered several common challenges. She notes, "Founders often do not talk enough to their target users and tend to want the end goal immediately, such as asking to introduce potential partners, customers, and investors to buy or invest in them." She helps entrepreneurs navigate these obstacles by focusing on building a strong online presence and leveraging personal and business brands for growth.

If you could benefit from Yu Li Shein's startup expertise, apply to the Founder Institute today!

One of Yu Li's most memorable achievements was during her university days when she ranked first for five consecutive years, despite significant financial and resource limitations. "This shaped my understanding of resilience and hard work, principles I bring into every mentoring session with startup founders."

Key Advice for Entrepreneurs from Yu Li

  • Forge connections that offer support and open doors.
  • Transform obstacles into growth opportunities.
  • Aim for international impact from the start.
  • Keep evolving to stay ahead.
  • Establish a strong digital brand.
  • Use collaborations for faster growth.
  • Adapt based on feedback and setbacks.

Learn more about Yu Li on her LinkedIn page


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The Founder Institute is the world's premier pre-seed accelerator, with chapters across 200+ cities and Graduate companies that have raised over $1.75BN in funding. The company's mission is to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and empower communities of talented and motivated people to build impactful technology-enabled companies worldwide.

Learn more about running an FI program at, or apply to build a business with the Founder Institute at

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