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Calvin Chu

Hi. I'm Calvin Chu, Entrepreneur for Life. Making the future happen sooner.


Calvin Chu is a maker, a gadget nerd and entrepreneur.  He spent much of his career in startups in the Bay Area but moved back to his home town, New York City. He is the founding Managing Director of R/GA Accelerator (a connected devices accelerator in New York City), founder of Mobile Crossing (an embedded devices company), founder of Elemental Path (an Internet-of-Things toy company), and is currently the Chief Operating Officer for Red Balloon Security.

Part of his time here in New York was spent liberating Columbia University technologies out of academia and into the hands of great entrepreneurs and also nurturing and mentoring ambitious startups growing out of cutting edge research.   

Calvin became acquainted and subsequently obsessed with technology in third grade after getting his first Commodore 64 and most importantly, a 300 baud modem.  His dad started several businesses and as a result, Calvin grew up with the ethic of perseverance.  When he was a teenager, he convinced a nuclear engineering company that he knew Modula-2 well enough to translate that language into C++ and landed his first job and also a couple of all-nighters with a Modula-2 manual. In college Calvin was involved in student government and ran a community volunteer organization for several years.  He somehow got his name memorialized on a plaque on the University of Michigan campus.  This meant losing lots of sleep and a slightly less optimized GPA but the trade was worth it.

In his time at Sapient, he traveled across the country learning about the nature of high tech businesses and implementing systems.  After the startup bug bit, he joined Optimal Networks as an engineer but after its acquisition left as a product guy. Soon afterwards, along with Optimal Networks co-founder, he joined FlyteComm and rode it through the best and worst years of the dotcom boom and bust and survived.  Calvin later co-founded Mobile Crossing at a coffee shop in San José and grew the startup into a consumer electronics and niche hardware company.  

(Along the way, he also served the City of San José as AHB Commissioner under Chuck Reed, wrote a lot of fun articles for Tom's Hardware, and advises for a variety of startup companies)

Calvin Chu's Background

Calvin Chu's Experience

Chief Operating Officer at Red Balloon Security

September 2014 - Present | New York, NY

Universal Embedded Defense. Cyber Security for all devices. Can be installed on any type of device, on any type of CPU, on any type of operating system, and grants strong defenses and situational awareness against malicious software.

Founder at Elemental Path

May 2014 - Present | New York, NY

Cognitoys!

Managing Director at R/GA Accelerator Powered by Techstars

November 2013 - Present | New York, NY

I will be moving heaven and earth in service of making hardware startups take root and succeed here in New York.

Senior Technology Licensing Officer at Columbia Technology Ventures

2008 - December 2013

I manage a portfolio of world-class intellectual property, licenses and startups for CTV. I am looking for new industry/market disruptive innovations that have either the potential to be licensed or potentially funded as startup ventures. This is done with a view towards successful commercialization and successful beneficial result to society.

Freelance Writer Editor at Tom's Hardware Guide

November 2006 - Present

Tom's Hardware Guide is the web's most respected source of hands on technical articles related to computers, electronics, networking and other similar topics. These articles offer in-depth benchmarks, expert comparisons and a deep, hard, independent look at the hardware that matters today. I have multiple articles published in Tom's Hardware Guide, most of them headlined articles and featured on multiple sister sites.

Appeals Hearing Commissioner at City of San José

November 2007 - November 2008

The Appeals Hearing Board for San José is a quasi-judicial group which hears code enforcement appeals of blighted conditions. As of November 2007, I am the newest member of the board. More information to come.

Co-founder and Director of Product Development at Mobile Crossing

January 2004 - December 2007

What can I really say? I co-founded the company and built it from the ground up into a well-established GPS-Handheld Computer manufacturer. So as for the responsibilities, it's really a bit of everything and everything it takes. Always remember what the customer really wants, sometimes you have to ignore your own wants and wishes when it comes to product development, but in the end, I've always developed products I'm proud of.

Senior Product Manager at FlyteComm

December 2000 - October 2002

- Responsible for aircraft situational display software lines - Analyzed and specified new products based on customer needs - Operated PR program leading to strong exposure on: CNN, NBC, New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal - Developed system for arrivals notifications into 375 national airports for the country's largest limousine service

Frameworks Architect at ePlanning

July 2000 - December 2000

Came on board in a developmental and advisory capacity Assisted creation of software frameworks and interfaces Content Management support for broker/dealer

Senior Software Engineer at Optimal Networks / Compuware

September 1999 - July 2000

Responsible for the PointForward performance measurement reporting system

Software Engineer at Sapient Corporation

September 1997 - September 1999

Responsible for liquid petroleum gas trading module for Williams Energy Supervised software QA for Goldman Sachs Upgraded PSE&G's employee wireless scheduling system to support A/C repair Designed and implemented Japanese conversion module for WindRiver's call center

Calvin Chu's Education

University of Michigan

1993 – 1997

B.S.E.

Activities: Officer for ACM; Officer for IEEE; Representative for UMEC; President of VCC Member of Epeians ; Member of the Order of the Engineer


Bronx High School of Science

1989 – 1993

Activities: All around nerd.


Calvin Chu's Interests & Activities

Building computers for fun; mechanical watch connoisseur; modifying car engines; software hacking; fine appreciator of standard international waltz; fountain pen aficionado; unrepentant audiophile; avid collector of signed first editions; gadget collector and all around obsessive

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