Allen Tsai

Allen Tsai

Allen is the Founder of Pani, a smart-home company inspired by his experience building water wells in Nepal. With a background in IoT, Allen took lessons from a lifetime of water conservation to usher in the convergence of tech & water sustainability

Austin, Texas, United States
Accredited investor
Member since September 10, 2018
"The credit belongs to the man who's actually in the arena...his place shall never be w/ those cold & timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat" Quote_down
  • About
Investor interests
Type of investor Angel
Typical investment size $25,000 - $50,000
Typical investments in a year 4
Locations of interest
Credentials Accredited Investor
UC Berkeley , BS , Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Business

I am a(n):


Companies I've founded or co-founded:
Pani, TasteBud, Ekata Systems
Companies I work or worked for:
Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, Atheros Communications
Achievements (products built, personal awards won):

Absent Father of the Year

If you're an entrepreneur or corporate innovator, why?

I want to prove that doing well and doing good are not mutually exclusive.

My favorite startups:

Kiva, Charity Miles, Tile, Dyson

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Walking the fine line between: Tenacity and stubbornness. Conviction and flexibility. Vision and tactics. Chicken and egg.

Making decisions with a limited dataset and no clear "right" answer. The combination of being data-driven and gut-driven when making pivotal calls is scary and exhilarating.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs/innovators make?

Not dreaming big enough.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

1) It is all about the people. Hire people who are smarter than you and empower them to do their best work. If you are the smartest person in the room, there's a problem.

2) It is just as important (if not more) to motivate employees with an aspirational vision as it is to write them a nice paycheck.

3) Don't be afraid to tackle big, hairy problems that people think you're crazy for attempting. "The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes a little longer".

Full bio

Allen Tsai is the Founder and CEO of Pani, a smart-home company inspired by his volunteer experience building water wells in rural Nepal. With a professional background in the Internet-of-Things, Allen took lessons from a lifetime of water conservation to create Pani to usher in the convergence of technology with water sustainability and efficiency. He’s spent nearly 20 years in the consumer electronics industry, having shipped over 175 million units of connected products through global brands such as Sony, Microsoft XBox, Panasonic, and HP.  His previous startup, Ekata Systems, won Android’s coveted “Innovative Developer” award and their work was featured at Google I/O. When he’s not thinking about how to leverage technology to usher in the era of “decentralized water,” he spends his time with his wife and three kids, playing music, riding his motorcycle, and singing in the shower.