Inspire Award winner
Nanxi Liu, a 27-year-old self-made entrepreneur, is the 2017 recipient of the NAAAP Inspire Award, Presented by General Motors. NAAAP’s Inspire Award is presented annually to a promising leader, usually early in his or her career, who has already made a tremendous, arguably revolutionary impact in his or her field or on society.
Liu is the CEO and co-founder of Enplug, a leading digital signage software company with headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in London, Sao Paulo, and Tokyo. Small businesses to Fortune 500 companies use Enplug’s software to manage and distribute interactive content on digital displays in offices, hotels, malls, and stadiums. Since its founding in 2012, Enplug quickly became the world’s most popular software for intelligent displays and raised over $3.7 million. The company has received several accolades, including Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 30 Startups to Watch in 2013 and the founders receiving Inc. Magazine’s 30 under 30 list for 2015. While in college, Liu founded Nanoly Bioscience, a still-thriving, award-winning biotech that develops polymers to eliminate refrigeration for vaccines. Liu also serves on the Board of Advisors for Covington Capital Management, which oversees $2 billion. Her work has earned her Fortune’s Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs in 2015 and Forbes 30 under 30 in 2016.
Outside of business. Liu serves as the chairman of the Tiger Scholarship Foundation and advises Rise To Run, which encourages progressive young women to run for public office. She has also served on advisory boards for United Nations Women, UNICEF Chinese Children’s Initiative, and the Lady Gaga Foundation. Liu won an Emmy as a producer of the Amazon TV show “The Bay” and is also a composer, pilot, certified marksman, and recently played at the 2017 World Series of Poker. Liu lived the first five years of her life in rural China and grew up in Colorado. Her family struggled, living in subsidized housing, with Liu depending on free lunch at school. When she convinced her parents to spend their savings on a $100 piano at a garage sale, she made the most of it by becoming a concert pianist, featured live on NBC, and winning prizes. Her success in music and pageants, including as Miss Oakland, paid for degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied business, political economy, and engineering.