Jacques Fu, CTO and co-founder of Fattmerchant, details how Publix chicken tenders helped keep him in Orlando and how the region’s diverse population helps bring new perspective to his personal and professional life.
The Orlando innovation ecosystem is rich with high-caliber tech talent and boundary-pushing entrepreneurs. In an effort to foster a more connected community, the Orlando Tech Council presents “Profiles in Tech,” a new series highlighting the region’s top executives, innovators and movers and shakers whose ideas and companies are changing the world right from our own backyard.
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This week’s Orlando Profiles in Tech features Jacques Fu, CTO and co-founder of Fattmerchant. Learn how Publix chicken tenders helped keep him in Orlando and how the region’s diverse population helps bring new perspective to his personal and professional life.
Have you experienced an “only in Orlando” moment? If so, what was it?
When my wife and I went to Victoria and Albert’s at Walt Disney World to celebrate our anniversary, it was the first time I had experienced fine dining with a robust ten course meal. We took a step out to watch the evening fireworks being launched over the Magic Kingdom, and I realized on another day I could easily turn eastward and see SpaceX rockets launching from the Space Coast. Juxtaposing that with launching our startup, Fattmerchant, in Orlando’s burgeoning tech ecosystem and getting to see companies like Luminar experience their own version of “going to the moon,” I get an overwhelming sense of something special here.
What brought you to the Orlando region? What’s kept you here?
I came for the diploma and I stayed for the Publix chicken tendies! In all seriousness, I’ve started several startups, got married, and started a family here. I now have three kids and I can’t think of a better place to call home. I have everything I need for the family and a plethora of business opportunities.
What makes Orlando the right place for your business? How does being in Orlando contribute to your business success or personal growth?
The creative spirit and entrepreneurial drive that we have in the region is unique. Our diverse population gives us the ability to find people who are “culture adds” as opposed to fitting a preconceived mold. Those ingredients enable us to create teams that greatly exceed expectations. Teams built in Orlando straddle the balance between being humble and also driven to succeed. I’ve learned a lot from the people here both personally and professionally.
What makes the Orlando tech ecosystem unique?
Growth. Our talent pool is improving, investment activity is rising, more and more people are relocating here, and the Metro area is poised to rapidly transform over the next several years. This is a great opportunity to get in on what I would still describe as the ground floor with a lot of room for expansion.
If you had to describe to an out-of-town friend what it’s like to live, work, learn and play in Orlando, what would you say?
Orlando is not only one thing. Like many cities, each area offers something different, but in general one of our advantages is that you can find almost anything you could want. We have beautiful parks, lots of natural recreation, but we also have a ton of great colleges, a downtown area, and a world renowned tourist destination if relatives want to come visit and play.
The Orlando Tech Council is composed of private industry, resource organizations and public partners that work to develop new programs with the core objectives: strengthen the Orlando region’s innovation resources, create new opportunities for companies to scale, and to amplify the region’s success stories, raising the global profile of Orlando as a leading community for entrepreneurship and innovation.