Zoe Berg, Senior Photographer

Students got to hear about the growing software industry from co-founder and Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba Group Joseph Tsai ’86 GRD ’90 and Andrew Myers ’18, founder and CEO of RippleMatch — a career recruitment platform.

 Held at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale on Oct. 18, the talk exposed Yale students to innovators of real-world problems. The event was part of The Pathways in Innovation Spotlight series focused on the five Tsai CITY Pathways, namely Civic Innovator, Entrepreneur, Explorer, Intrapreneur and Creative.

“The key to a unique software is creating it such that it can be used across multiple spaces,” Myers said during the talk. 

During the talk, Tsai spoke about the software industry being heavily dependent on innovative ideas that cater to audience preferences in real-time — the most ideal example of which being RippleMatch itself.

RippleMatch — founded by Myers in 2016 — seeks to eliminate the most time-intensive parts of the recruitment process for both employers and job seekers. Aimed at both improving the current system of career recruiting and helping students and employers build meaningful relationships, RippleMatch is currently being leveraged by leading businesses such as Amazon, eBay and Teach For America. 

Describing the project as “personal,” Myers said that RippleMatch began out of his college dorm back in 2016. Currently available across 1500 college campuses, with over $80 million in venture funding, the platform’s 128 person team is headquartered in New York City. 

RippleMatch uses an algorithm similar to other online matching software to instantly connect students with employers based on their profile information, previous experience and career interests. 

“The software was created with the intention of connecting recruiting employers with students of all geographies and socio-economic and cultural backgrounds,” Myers said. 

Tsai also highlighted how important it is for students to take advantage of the interdisciplinary education Yale offers, by collaborating with peers in different disciplines.

Tsai was one of the first people who hopped on board Alibaba — then an emerging startup being spearheaded by Jack Ma. He helped transform the group into an e-commerce juggernaut and helped orchestrate its initial public offering in New York in 2014, in which the group raised $25 billion, making it the largest-ever IPO. Serving as Alibaba Group’s chief financial officer until 2013, Tsai is also its second-largest shareholder. He now serves as executive vice chairman.

Tsai, who also holds ownership of leading sports teams, including the NBA team Brooklyn Nets, kept the students engaged by bringing out personal anecdotes. He mentioned that a third of tech startups end up being extremely successful, a third end up doing alright and a third end up as complete failures. Filtering through the third of companies that end up failing could lead to enormous potential for the software industry.

Tsai earned a bachelors in economics and East Asian studies from Yale College in 1986. In 1990, he earned his law degree from Yale Law School, where he was articles editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review.

Emilie Ma ’25, who has attended previous Tsai CITY spotlights, said that the speakers highlighted the importance of funding, namely the Accelerator and Summer Fellowship programs at Tsai CITY.

“It is growing increasingly relevant for Yale students to engage with these networks,” Ma told the News. 

She was also excited about getting to hear from successful personalities who had been to Yale themselves. 

Aditya Kabra ’26 added that the discussion format of the entrepreneur spotlight made it “relevant and easy to follow,” and found the back and forth between Tsai and Myers especially interesting.

Tsai CITY was established in 2017 through a major donation by Joseph Tsai.