#Asia China is closing the gap with Silicon Valley: Zhenfund’s Anna Fang


The CEO of China’s Zhenfund explains she looks for ambition, charisma and background knowledge in a Founder

Analyse Asia is a weekly podcast hosted by Bernard Leong and features guests from across Asia’s vibrant tech community. e27 will republish the series covering a range of companies, topics and news analysis. To follow Bernard, and Analyse Asia, check him out on Twitter and Facebook.

Here are the interesting show notes and links to the discussion (with time-stamps included):

Anna Fang (@annafanghamm, LinkedIn, Zhenfund Profile), Partner and CEO ofZhenfund (@zhenfund, Wechat: zhenfund)

  • How did she start her career? Fang’s story on how she came to work on ZhenFund with Xu Xiaoping thru Neil Shen of Sequoia Capital. [0:47]
  • Zhang started in JP Morgan and subsequently in China Now and GE in China then to the current role, what are the interesting career lessons she learned? [3:08]
  • Zhenfund (Crunchbase)
    • Zhenfund is started by Bob Xu Xiaoping and Wang Qiang, what is the mission and vision for the venture fund? [4:30]
    • How is the fund structured? It is originally started to invest in early stage startups in mainland China, and subsequently, Xu Xiaoping created a joint fund with Sequoia Capital. [5:15]
    • Xu Xiaoping started off as a very influential super angel in China (with an equivalent status to Ron Conway in Silicon Valley), and subsequently started Zhenfund, what is it like working with him and how does he think about investing in startups? [5:50]
    • What are the categories of startups that Zhenfund invests in? [7:12]
    • Which stage of financing does Zhenfund invest in startups within China? [9:47]
    • What is Anna’s investment thesis? It’s about the person. [9:58]
    • What are the traits that Zhang observes as common in startup founders and companies to be part of Zhenfund’s portfolio? The 100 Points system – the founder must have 100 points in one characteristic against other traits. [10:50]
    • How does Zhenfund help the portfolio companies to scale and move forward after the investment? [12:07]
    • Does Zhenfund engage the corporate development teams from BAT? Note: Tencent is a LP to ZhenFund. [13:10]
    • How many startups have Zhenfund invested to date from China to Silicon Valley? 300 startups to date. (See Portfolio) [13:20]
    • Is it more interesting to focus on startups that can scale globally or dominate the large domestic market of China? [14:43]
    • Talk about any three interesting companies in Zhenfund.

Also Read: [Asia Beat] China needs to exercise caution on virtual reality investment

  • China startup ecosystem
    • Given the recent Chinese equities market crash and US funds slowing down investments in unicorns, how does this affect the startup ecosystem in China? [15:20]
    • Will there be a slowdown in investments for early stage, middle or late stage companies in China? [16:40]
    • Compared to Silicon Valley, do you think that China’s startup ecosystem is now closing the gap given the rise of BAT, talent reflux within startups and first generation role model entrepreneurs such as Lei Jun? [17:17]
    • Which are the essential gaps that the China’s startup ecosystem need to close in order to match Silicon Valley? [18:40]
    • How competitive is China’s startup ecosystem? [19:50]

Photo courtesy of Splitshire.


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