The Sustainability and Healthcare Champion

Kathy Chen

Kathy Chen – Senior Principal

Kathy Chen is a passionate and talented investor who brings deep subject matter expertise from her academic studies as well as her investment banking and private equity experience. Her investing superpower is her ability to learn. She’s never satisfied with a surface-level answer. She dives deep to understand risk and return at a first-principles level and then builds up from this foundation to understand the potential of a business. This deep exploration requires asking tough questions. She is masterful at asking the questions and getting helpful answers—all in a way that makes the entrepreneurs feel supported and engaged.

She has been able to extend the Ulu rubric and investment evaluation process into healthcare and sustainability; this expertise enables the firm to open markets that we had not explored much previously, and encourages us to evaluate a wider range of startups.

Kathy is a joyful presence with an intellectual curiosity that always pushes the team to dig deeper into diligence. Her passion for frontier tech is exciting and will help Ulu fund entrepreneurial teams that once might have been overlooked.

We are grateful to have her as a co-conspirator in Ulu Ventures’ efforts to fund a better world.


Kathy is a Senior Principal at Ulu Ventures seeking to support diverse entrepreneurs with ambitious goals. She is focused on health and sustainability, where under-represented founders have incredible potential to shape the future.

Prior to Ulu Ventures, Kathy spent five years with 1955 Capital investing in early-stage, deep-tech startups in the health and climate sectors. Notable investments include alternative protein platform, Nature’s Fynd; electric-aviation platform, Ampaire; and next-generation surgical robotics platform, Noah Medical. She also supported a portfolio of 12 investments and led multiple efforts into new investment areas including health & nutrition, sustainable manufacturing, and electrified transport. Prior to 1955 Capital, Kathy spent three years in late-stage investing with cross-border private equity firm Unitas Capital, which managed over US$4 billion in assets across Asia, North America, and Europe. She began her career in investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan, executing a variety of M&A, debt & equity transactions in the US and China.

Kathy has assisted portfolio companies with fundraising, financial planning/budgeting, analytics & KPI design, new market & product line research, and beyond. She also consulted for AccessAfya, an affordable primary healthcare provider serving the urban communities of Kenya, and Full Harvest, a B2B platform addressing food waste at the supply-chain level.

Kathy obtained her BSc and MBA from the Wharton School, where she was heavily involved with sustainability and impact investing. She is proud to have earned a minor in Architecture from the Penn School of Design.

Kathy is a “constant gardener” and has successfully kept alive over 100 varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers and houseplants. She loves traveling and hopes to add to her list of 35+ countries explored.

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Rusty Dornin
Rusty Dornin is the director of marketing and communications for Ulu Ventures. An award-winning radio and television journalist, she was a CNN correspondent for nearly 18 years covering domestic and world news ranging from war to natural disasters and tales of crime and politics.
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