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avatar for Catherine Hoke

Catherine Hoke

Founder / CEO
Defy Ventures
Catherine Hoke is the Founder and CEO of Defy Ventures, based in New York City. Defy is an entrepreneurship program and incubator that "transforms the hustle" of formerly incarcerated drug dealers and gang leaders, equipping them to become legal entrepreneurs, great parents, and community leaders. Raised as a French Canadian immigrant, Catherine made her entrepreneurial debut at age 8, when she locked down the Davis, California hamster breeding market, selling her baby hamsters to the pet shop for a $1 a piece. She later became the first girl on the Davis High School boys wrestling team. It was on the wrestling mat that she developed a noteworthy endurance for humiliation (to this day, she owns the school’s record for getting pinned the fastest and the most in her first year). Her bruises and losses prepared her to come alongside others who need to be “scraped off the mat,” shined up, and put back in the fight. Catherine left behind a career in venture capital and private equity to pursue her calling. She is driven by her love for God, hatred for injustice, and belief in the underdog.