From USC Law Magazine: Enterprising entrepreneur Wendy Shu (JD 2012)

Julie Riggott • February 14, 2024
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Without knowledge about millimeter-wave technology, you may need a primer to understand what Wendy Shu’s (JD 2012) company actually does. Eravant designs and manufactures “off-the-shelf” electronic components for RF engineers. RF engineering involves products that transmit radio waves, and the extremely high frequency (EHF) work that Eravant does supports applications in emerging technologies such as 6G, autonomous driving and the Internet of Things (IoT). Eravant’s customers can be found across verticals like aerospace and defense, test instrumentation and wireless communications.

Shu has the perfect analogy to explain what makes the company unique — that “off-the-shelf” approach to the market.

“I think of it like fashion,” she says. “Millimeter-wave conventions traditionally resembled those of haute couture, which involves going back and forth with the client and designing something exquisite and customized together. Haute couture is extremely expensive because of all the labor and time.

“Contrast that with ready-to-wear. By offering our customers this ready-to-wear solution, and defining the measurements (here’s what a size 10 looks like), we’ve enabled our customers to accelerate their R&D and go to market faster. When they’re ready for production, we can then take that size 10 and tailor it slightly, which is much more affordable.

High tech was not on Shu’s radar when she started at USC Gould with an undergraduate degree in international relations and East Asian languages. But when she graduated, her parents were one year into Eravant and invited her to help with export compliance, contracts and human resources.

“At the time, my emphasis was on soft IP, and truthfully, it wasn’t that compelling for me. So, I decided to be an entrepreneur and focus on finding how I could contribute
to a very technical industry. I’ve been doing that ever since,” she says.

Eravant faced some unique challenges early on, Shu says. “When you’re working with commercial applications, there is this demand for cheaper, faster and better. You need to be able to scale up and produce these really precise instruments at volume. Those challenges are new for our industry. There is no best practice. We’re doing something that people have said is not possible.”

And her Gould education helped the company navigate that new territory.

“You really need to pull together the right people, enable them to collaborate and work on the pressing problems. Being able to do that has made a huge difference in my career and in the business,” Shu says. “Having the legal background helps me navigate and negotiate us through challenges. It also helps me to break down complex issues into something approachable, whether they are related to operations, product, people or revenue.”

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