Jane Chen

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Jane Chen
Jane Marie Chen.jpg
Chen in 2012
Jane Marie Chen
NationalityTaiwanese American
Alma materPomona College
Harvard University
Stanford University
OccupationCo-founder and former CEO, Embrace, and Co-founder and CEO, Embrace Innovations
Known forCo-founder at Embrace (non-profit)

Jane Marie Chen (born December 5, 1978) is the co-founder of Embrace, a social enterprise startup that aims to help the 20 million premature and low birth-weight babies born every year, through a low-cost infant warmer,[1] that would give premature infants a better chance at survival. A baby born two weeks premature lacks the ability to regulate its own body temperature. The child will likely die if not transferred to an incubator within an hour. With the Embrace Warmer, which is a specially designed polymer blanket, that vital time span becomes 4 hours.[2]

Currently, Chen serves as CEO of Embrace Innovations, which has a mission to design and bring to market healthcare technologies for the developing world, starting with the infant warmer. The Embrace infant warmer costs about 1% of a traditional incubator,[3] and is currently being distributed across clinics in India, with pilots being conducted in 10 countries. The Embrace infant warmer is estimated to have helped over 150,000 babies to date.

Chen served as the first Chief Executive Officer of Embrace, the non-profit arm of the organization, before stepping into the CEO role for Embrace Innovations, the for-profit social enterprise that was spun off in 2012.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Chen's early education was at Upland High School, in Upland, California.

Chen holds a BA in Psychology and Economics from Pomona College, a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University, and an MBA from Stanford University.[5]


Prior to Embrace, Chen worked with nonprofit organizations on healthcare issues in developing countries. She spent several years as the Program Director of a startup HIV/AIDS nonprofit in China (Chi Heng Foundation), and worked for the Clinton Foundation’s HIV/AIDS Initiative in Tanzania.[6] She also worked at Monitor Group as a management consultant, advising Fortune 500 companies.

Chen has been a TED speaker,[7] and was selected as one of Forbes' Impact 30 in 2011.[8] In 2011, Chen was also recognized as the Inspirational Young Alumni of the Year by Pomona College,[9] and was the keynote speaker at Stanford’s Women in Management event in the same year. She is also featured in Stanford’s “Tradition of Innovation,” and speaks at various international conferences, including the Skoll World Forum.[10]

In 2012, Chen was named as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum,[11] and was featured in Dove's "Real Role Models" campaign for women and girls.[12] She is also profiled in AOL’s Makers campaign.[6] Chen is a TED India Fellow, TED Senior Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow, and Rainer Arnhold Fellow.

In 2013, Chen and the other co-founders of Embrace, Linus Liang, Nag Murty, and Rahul Panicker were awarded the prestigious Economist Innovation Award, under the category of Social and Economic Innovation.[13] In the same year, Chen and her co-founder Rahul Panicker were also recognized as Schwab Social Entrepreneurs of the Year by the World Economic Forum.[14] In 2014, Chen was invited to the White House's first ever Maker Faire, where she had the chance to present Embrace's work to President Obama[15]. In the same year, Beyonce made a contribution to get the Embrace warmers into 9 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.[16]


While doing her MBA at Stanford, Chen and a few other fellow graduate students were assigned a class project to create a low-cost infant incubator that could be used in rural areas.[1][5][17] In 2008, they co-founded Embrace, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, to bring their project to life.[18][19] In January 2012, Embrace moved into a hybrid structure.[20] The non-profit entity, Embrace, donates infant warmers to the neediest areas through NGO partners, and provides educational programs on newborn health alongside the distribution of warmers. The for-profit social enterprise, Embrace Innovations, sells the warmers to paying entities, including governments and private clinics, all focusing on emerging markets. Embrace believes that this type of "hybrid" structure allows it to most effectively achieve its mission: to supply its infant warmers to every baby in need.[21] Embrace Innovations, the for-profit social enterprise, raised its Series A round of financing in 2012 from Vinod Khosla's Impact Fund and Capricorn Investment Group.

In 2016, Embrace Innovations launched a line of consumer baby products called Little Lotus Baby (temperature regulating swaddles and sleeping bags), which have a buy-one give-one model; each product sold helps to save a baby in a developing country with the Embrace warmer. The Little Lotus products leverage the technology used in the Embrace warmer to keep babies at an ideal skin temperature, thereby helping to improve their sleep.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Chen's personal hobbies include meditation, yoga and surfing. She writes a blog called Hanging Zen,[23] and a column for Forbes about the life lessons and startup lessons she learns through surfing.[24]


  1. ^ a b Abrar, Peerzada (July 20, 2012). "Lessons from 50 startups: Stanford grads' Embrace Innovations build low-cost warmer to save young Indian lives". The Economic Times. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  2. ^ Editors, Big Think (Over a year ago). "A Place Where Makers Can Pursue Their Dreams, with TechShop's Mark Hatch". Big Think. Retrieved 2017-07-27.
  3. ^ Bagchi, Shrabonti (September 19, 2011). "Saving little Lives". The Times of India. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 13, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  5. ^ a b Lee, Ellen (November 12, 2010). "Embrace may keep babies warm and alive". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Jane Chen: Women in Healthcare". AOL. February 2, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  7. ^ "Jane Chen: A warm embrace that saves lives". TED Conference. TED. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  8. ^ "Forbes impact 30, 2012". Forbes. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  9. ^ Hua, Vanessa. "Jane Chen '00 Wins Inspirational Young Alumna Award for Innovative Incubator Invention". Archived from the original on May 16, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  10. ^ Chen, Jane. "Speaker at Skoll World Forum". Retrieved 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  11. ^ "World Economic Forum, Young Global Leaders". WEF, Young Global Leaders, 2012. World Economic Forum. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  12. ^ Series, Dove. "Dove Real Role Models". Dove. Retrieved 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  13. ^ Stay informed today and every day (November 30, 2013). "Innovation awards: And the winners are…". The Economist. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship Announces Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2013 | World Economic Forum - Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship Announces Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2013". Weforum.org. February 15, 2013. Archived from the original on April 15, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  15. ^ Lelon, Elise (2014-07-10). "The Baby Saving Revolution: Obama and Beyonce Embrace Founder, Jane Chen (You Will Too)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  16. ^ Weil, Elizabeth (2015-11-20). "Caring for Premature Babies, With a Little Help From Beyoncé". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  17. ^ Sibley, Lisa (April 17, 2008). "Stanford startup's $25 'sleeping bag' could save newborns". Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  18. ^ Dooley, Sean (December 17, 2010). "Embrace Infant Warmer Could Save Thousands". ABC News. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  19. ^ "Saving Babies" (Flash). CNN. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
  20. ^ Chen, Jane. "Should Your Business Be Nonprofit or For-Profit?". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved February 1, 2013.
  21. ^ Abudheen, Sainul K. "Infant warmers maker Embrace raises funding from Khosla Impact, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, others". VCCircle. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  22. ^ "A Simple, Effective Way to Reduce Infant Mortality". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
  23. ^ "Hanging Zen". Hanging Zen. Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  24. ^ Chen, Jane. "Jane Chen - Jane Chen's Forbes Site". Forbes. Retrieved 2016-08-09.

External links[edit]