Danielle Fong

Danielle Fong

Canadian entrepreneur, computer scientist, and physicist.


Danielle Fong is a Canadian entrepreneur, computer scientist, and physicist who co-founded LightSail Energy and Haven Villages. She was born on October 31, 1987, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Dalhousie University

At age 12, Fong dropped out of junior high school to begin her college education at Dalhousie University in 2000, pursuing a Physics and Computer Sciences Bachelor's degree. She graduated with First Class Honors, the University Medal in computer science, the Canadian Association of Physicists University Prize, and the Burgess McKittrick Prize for Physics (Feynman Lectures book prize) in 2005, at the age of 17. Additionally, Fong received the Dalhousie In-Course Scholarship in 2004 and 2005.

Princeton University

In 2005, after graduating from Dalhousie, Fong went on to Princeton University as a Ph.D. candidate with two different scholarships, the Princeton First-Year Science and Engineering Fellowship and the Princeton Full-Tuition Fellowship. Although Fong decided to leave Princeton before finishing her Ph.D. program in Plasma Physics, she managed to receive several accolades and awards between 2005 and 2007, including the Princeton University Merit Prize, the NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship PGS-M (2005-2007), and the Quarter-Finalist, TopCoder Collegiate Challenge 2006. Additionally, Fong was offered the NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship CGS-M, which she chose to decline.

The University of California, Berkeley

Fong never attended Berkeley, but she has chosen to list the school on her LinkedIn profile as a humorous offering to her connections, stating she received her 'Master's in using the library and not paying tuition..., efficient use of public assets.' She explains in the description that between the years 2007 and 2019, she spent time in the UC, Berkeley library making use of the resources, wifi, and student groups located around the campus.

Professional experience
Undergraduate researcher

Fong served as an undergraduate researcher for approximately two and half of her five years at the university.

From May 2002 through August 2002, Fong investigated the possibility of improvement by active networks to latency and bandwidth usage for large multiplayer games. She implemented a prototype game and tested numerous concepts using OCaml, Java, C, and PLAN.

From June 2003 through June 2005, Fong developed numerical libraries and software to solve the eigenstate problem in strongly interacting quantum dots. The work was used for a proposed solid-state quantum dot quantum computer, robust to environmental decoherence processes using C++, STL, and Boost.

Teaching assistant/ Lab assistant

From September 2003-April 2004, Fong worked as a teaching assistant and lab assistant in the computer science learning center at Dalhousie University. Additionally, she developed the material for and taught the introductory Unix sections of the computer science first year course using Scheme, LISP, Java, C, C++, MySQL, and Mathematics.

Graduate researcher

From August 2005-August 2007, Fong was a graduate researcher at Princeton University. In her time at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, she completed analytical and computational work on a toroidal current drive by rotating magnetic fields in field-reversed configuration devices using Python, C++, Mathematica, and Fortran coding languages.

Additionally, Fong performed X-ray measurements and analysis of emission in a field-reverse configuration heated by rotating magnetic fields using Matlab, Fortran, Mathematica, and VBScript coding languages.


After leaving Princeton as an employee and student, Fong became an algorithmist at Scribd. She remained in the position for two months between November 2007 and December 2007. In her time at Scribd, she designed a linear time algorithm for document matching, detecting copyright violations, and developed novel strategies for semantic parsing using Algorithmic Work and Mathematica.


From January 2008-March 2008, Fong was a hacker for labmeeting. She completed a full-stack software engineering and product design with Ruby on Rails, developing an academic organizational tool and social network using Ruby on Rails, MySQL, and Linux.

From March 2008-May 2008, Fong worked as a hacker at Mochi Media producing a high-capacity flash game recommendation engine that used Python, Pylons, and Erlang and developed a user interface using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, MochiKit, and Mootools, to suggest similar games based on past player behaviors.

Co-founder and CEO

In January of 2012, Fong co-founded and served as CEO of The Firehome, a collective program she developed and ran from 2012-2016 to mentor and host other entrepreneurs and innovators.

Co-founder, chief scientific officer, and chief strategist

In July 2009, Fong co-founded LightSail Energy and served as its chief scientific officer and chief strategist. She developed a near-isothermal compressed air compression and expansion technology (using direct injection of water spray) that demonstrated ~30% efficiency increases on high-ratio compression and high ratio expansion, up to pressures of 220 bar. FullSail received backing from investors like Peter Thiel, Vinod Khosla, and Bill Gates. Fong left the company in December of 2019.

Leadership council member

Fong became a leadership council member at Cyclotron Road in January of 2015. The position is described as a pro-bono seat where Fong identifies, mentors, and provides connections to individuals looking to innovate the energy technology industry. Cyclotron Road is affiliated with the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. As of December of 2020, Fong remained an active member of the leadership council.

Co-founder and CTO

In May of 2020, Fong co-founded Haven Villages, a collective cohabitation community for innovation within Silicon Valley located remotely. The village was developed to allow people in tech to live in a community of like-minded individuals while prioritizing mental and physical health in a natural setting. It was built with the COVID-19 pandemic in mind, minimizing the number of people housed within a single unit and an open-air outdoor concept in common areas. Haven Villages refers to the concept as a "charter city."


October 30, 1987
Danielle Fong was born in Halifax.



Further reading


Gone like the wind


February 28, 2017

Hot 20: The Transformer, Danielle Fong

Christine Ryan


October 10, 2013

Meet the 27-year-old inventor backed by Bill Gates and Peter Thiel

Matt McCue


December 31, 2014

Running On Battery Power: The 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 In Energy

Christopher Helman


November 13, 2018

Documentaries, videos and podcasts





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