Thuy Thanh Truong

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Thuy Thanh Truong
Truong Thanh Thuy

(1985-12-16)December 16, 1985
DiedJanuary 25, 2020(2020-01-25) (aged 34) [1]
Education University of Southern California (BS)

Thuy Thanh Truong (December 16, 1985 – January 25, 2020) was a Vietnamese American serial entrepreneur, technology influencer, and cancer advocate. She was known as "Vietnam's startup queen" for her early work and contribution for Vietnam startup community [2]


Early life and education

Thuy was born as the only child in Bien Hoa, a city in South Vietnam. In 2003, her family moved to the US for her education. Upon arrival, she attended Alhambra High School for her senior year. Thuy started her college education at Pasadena City College. In 2009, she transferred and graduated from University of Southern California with Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. [3]


Food and Beverage, 2009 – 2012

In late 2008, Thuy and her friend, Ha Pham, started working on their first business in Vietnam, while both of them were still high-school students. In June 2009, they opened the flagship store of Parallel Frozen Yogurt.

She raised funding from a group of angel investors and opened 3 more stores in many prime locations in Ho Chi Minh City, such as Vincom, NowZone, and CoopMart before the business wind down in 2012.

Mobile Startups, 2011–2015

In 2010, her USC classmate, Elliot Lee, came to Vietnam for visiting. The two decided to start a small studio in Ho Chi Minh City to tap into the Vietnamese engineering resources. GreenGar is known for the most popular collaborative whiteboard drawing app, which was on the top of the Productivity Category on iOS App Store in many countries.

In 2011, Thuy organized the Mobile Hackathon in Vietnam at the University of Science – Vietnam National University in Thu Duc, Ho Chi Minh City. The event was sponsored by GreenGar Studios and hosted by Advanced Program of Computer Science.

In 2013, Thuy got accepted to the finalist of Women 2.0 PITCH Competition in San Francisco. She made her first public appearance in the Valley with the Vietnamese traditional white dress and recognized as Runner-Up. GreenGar then got accepted to 500 Startups Batch 006 in June 2013, changed the name to GreenGar Inc., and entirely focus to Whiteboard. The team was known as the first Vietnamese-based company joined the Accelerator Program.

In 2014, GreenGar was shut down – admitting their failure in scaling up the business. The team spin off to created Tappy – adding Leslie Nguyen and Thuc Vu to the founding team.

Tappy has several attempts to launch, including the Future Now Music Festival, and Fuse #8withme Party. In May 2015, Tappy announced their acquihire by – a game technology company in Mountain View, CA. Thuy worked as Weeby's director for business development for Asia after the acquisition. [4]

In December 2015, Thuy stirred up the Vietnamese press and media one more time with the Vietnam Hour of Code. The event was co-organized between and Viettel Group – the biggest Vietnamese telecommunication conglomerate . She left one month after that.


Thuy is the subject lead in the documentary movie “She Started It” – directed by Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed. The documentary also featured Sheena Allen amongst others and was released at Mill Valley Film Festival in Oct 2016. [5]


Thuy's blog post got featured on Women 2.0, TechinAsia and e27. She wrote mostly about her journey and Vietnam startups.

In March 2016, she published her first book in Vietnam, together with Viet Youth Entrepreneur, earned the endorsement from the official Party Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee – Dinh La Thang as the inspiration for youth in startups.

Awards and recognition

Thuy has been speaking at multiple conferences and tech events worldwide to encourage young entrepreneurs, insights of Vietnamese ecosystem, and women innovation, including Women 2.0, World Bank infoDev, and Echelon.


On October 14, 2016, Thuy announced on Medium about her last stage lung cancer diagnosis.

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  1. Remembering Vietnam’s Tech Queen And What She Taught Us
  2. 1 2 Nguyen, Hoang. "Vietnam's start-up queen". BBC News.
  3. "Vietnam's Serial Entrepreneur". Viterbi Magazine.
  4. "Vietnam's start-up queen". BBC News. 2015-08-16. Retrieved 2020-12-21.
  5. Calvario, Liz. "'She Started It' Trailer: Documentary Aims To Bolster Female Entrepreneurship". IndieWire.