Stephen Christopher Liu is a social entrepreneur and media executive. Over his career, he has been successful at spawning, building and scaling a number of innovative enterprises -- both online and offline.
In his latest venture, he serves as the CEO and “Chief Social Capitalist” at Privy, an invitation-only niche social network and online/mobile travel platform targeted at a select group of transpacific executives and key influencers. Through Privy, Stephen has committed to support a handful of Asia-related causes including the Joint US-China Cooperation on Clean Energy (JUCCCE) and Liberty in North Korea (LiNK).
Prior to Privy, he founded and was President of one of the early streaming video-enabled B2B digital marketplaces catering to the global film and television distribution industry called Reelplay, a Forbes-recognized Top 200 B2B Company. At Reelplay, Stephen was personally responsible for raising close to $6 million in venture capital from a number of Silicon Valley and Hollywood heavyweights, including Softbank Venture Capital and WaterView Advisors, run by Frank Biondi, Jr. (former CEO at Viacom, Universal Studios, and HBO). Moreover, Stephen was able to convince a large portion of the industry (over 25,000 film/tv professionals representing over 30 territories worldwide) to join the Reelplay community.
Prior to Reelplay, Stephen was in consulting and banking. He served as Managing Director of a boutique strategy consultancy alongside a handful of USC business school professors called Change Associates, where he advised senior executives from corporate giants like DaimlerChrysler and Xerox, to media and entertainment nonprofits such as Marketplace Radio and the USC School of Cinema/Television. He began his career at Wells Fargo Bank, where he rose to Assistant Vice President and managed a $60 million portfolio in the Premier Banking Group.
While working a full schedule, Stephen founded the Asian Professional Exchange (APEX) in 1993, served as the organization's founding President from 1993 to 1997, and led the organization from a concept on a napkin to one of the largest Asian Pacific American organizations in United States, now with over 9000 members. Fifteen years later, Liu still remains active in APEX today serving as Chairman of the Board.
His involvement with the Asian American community inspired him to create an informal, not-for-profit 5,000 member social gathering group called Drinks 'n Chatter (DnC) which raises financial support and awareness for mainly Asian American community-based organizations. Since 2004, DnC has helped raised over $40,000 for several worthwhile non-profits.
Stephen owns interests in several other businesses including One Pixel Motion, a digital branding studio specializing in motion design and interactive media; HPI Emblem, a vertically integrated China-based emblem manufacturer serving the U.S. decorated apparel, fashion, promotional products, recognition and uniform markets; and Xing Xing, a Beijing-based venture-backed digital animation company specializing in 3D and Flash animation for film, television and games.
With all this on his plate, Stephen still finds time to serve on the boards and committees of various local community and entertainment organizations. Some of these include, past and present: Asian Excellence Awards Committee, FF Fraternity, Loyola Marymount Media MBA Advisory Board, LMU Center for Asian Business, Junior Achievement Asian Advisory Board, LA Asian Pacific Film/Video Festival Hon. Advisory Board, Golden Gate University Center for East/West Entrepreneurial Studies Board, East West Players New Theatre Campaign.
His varied accomplishments earned Stephen the honor of named “Local Hero” by KCET/Union Bank in 2009 and an “Emerging Leader” by the Asian Pacific Community Fund in 2008. He was also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America as a “Distinguished Citizen” and Goldsea as one of the “Top 40 Young Asian American Professionals”. Most recently, he was honored to give the 2008 graduation commencement speech at the Asian Pacific American Studies School at Loyola Marymount University.
In addition, Stephen is an active commentator on technology, media and Asia -- having spoken at such events as: PPAI, SAAC, Red Herring on Hollywood, Internet Content West, Broadcast Worldwide, IFP, eMediatainment World, Digital Media Wire, CalTech/MIT Enterprise Forum and the Softbank Venture Forum (partial list).
Stephen recently produced his first feature documentary film entitled “Yours Truly, Miss Chinatown” which was funded in part by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) and will be playing on PBS in the near future. He received his MBA in Organizational Behavior and Operations Management from the Marshall School at University of Southern California (USC) and lives in Hermosa Beach, California.