Recognising Exceptional Women Entrepreneurs
Jacana - Founder, Lulu co-founder. World traveler. Former tennis pro.
Alexandra Chong is a Jamaican entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Jacana, a global cannabis company. Jacana cultivates, develops and distributes medical cannabis internationally and in a historic move, it was the first company to export Jamaican medical cannabis flower internationally.
She was previously the founder and CEO of Lulu, a mobile app for dating intelligence. Business Insider and AdWeek have recognized her as one of the top entrepreneurs in New York. She launched Luluvise in 2011 and Lulu was released in the US by 2013. It was nominated as TechCrunch's 2013 "Fastest Rising Startup". Lulu was acquired in 2016 by Badoo.
The day after Valentine’s Day, Alexandra Chong went out to a brunch with about 20 women. She only knew five or six of them, but after half the day, Chong felt like she’d made friendships, learned so many new things. She had even taken notes on her phone and exchanged details to follow up with.
Of course, since it was the day after Valentine’s, much of what they talked about was men, dating, things they liked or didn’t like.
“I realized it was so nourishing and that I wish I could have more female nourishing experiences and learnings regularly,” Chong said.
To create that kind of experience, Chong built an app called Lulu, which is for female users to anonymously talk about the men they know in their lives, in whatever capacity. It’s a private network for girls, where users can sign up with Facebook and rate men as friends, boyfriends, or hook ups with a quiz, hashtag comments like “ObsessedWithHisMom,” “GoneByMorning,” or “FriendZone.”
Chong was born in Jamaica. Her father is Chinese-Jamaican and her mom is Canadian. She went to boarding school in England, where she trained to be a professional tennis player. She played on the Jamaica Fed Cup team.
Chong went to Florida International University on a tennis scholarship, and then the London School of Economics for law school. Initially, she wanted to move back to Jamaica and become a politician. But she ended up getting a job with Upstream, a London-based mobile marketing firm. It was her first experience in tech startups and she loved the energy. That was where she realized she “had the bones to be an entrepreneur,” she said.