Kenneth Lin immigrated to the U.S. from China at the age of 4. His dad worked late hours, six days a week and his mom held multiple jobs and cooked for local bakeries.

“They were always starting something,” says Lin.

“I saw that growing up and I think in many ways it really influenced me.”

Lin took a steady job after graduating from Boston University–the first one in his family to complete college–but kept experimenting with business ideas on the side.

He bought and sell computer parts online and later opened an internet cafe in Harvard Square.

“I like doing my own thing,” he says. “I like the challenge of thinking it through.”

Lin then founded Credit Karma in 2007, tackling an issue that was close to him.

The goal of creating a customer-friendly alternative to trickster credit score services.

He raised $386 million, making Credit Karma part of Silicon Valley’s startup unicorns, and figured out how to turn a profit while helping nearly 70 million Americans discover financial services products that meet their needs.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that the company has become his most successful venture, by far.

Adapted from a FastCompany article here: