Shan-Lyn Ma

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Location: New York, NY
Founded: 2013
Industry: Technology

Shan-Lyn Ma
Co-founder and CEO


Zola co-founder and CEO Shan-Lyn Ma first knew the wedding industry was due for a change after attending a lot of weddings. She became frustrated with the experience of being a guest and hunting through outdated online registries. She knew her friends, and the gifts on the registries simply didn’t match the things she knew they were passionate about. Ma also noted that today’s generation of millennial brides and grooms are different, and registries weren’t reflecting this shift. These couples often live together before marriage, so the essentials may already be taken care of. In addition, experiences are valued much more than items. Zola was created to cater to the modern couple, and their guests.

Fun Fact: Ma was born in Singapore, grew up in Australia, and then moved to the U.S. to attend Stanford Business School.

Zola is continuing to accelerate, and this has introduced Ma to the “unrelenting nature of being a startup founder and needing to never stop thinking or caring or wanting to push forward,” she says. This can take a toll, and Ma has had to learn to pace herself, treating the entrepreneurial race as a marathon, rather than a sprint.

As the leader of a startup-turned-success-story, Ma actively mentors several young professional women, and helps early-stage startup founders navigate through some of the hurdles that a company faces as it gets off the ground.