Thursday, February 12, 2015

Does Your Startup Have the Power to Disrupt?

If so, Richard Ji wants to hear from you, and probably give you large amounts of money. A former tech industry analyst at Wall Street's Morgan Stanley, Ji took half a dozen of his colleagues and co-founded an investment company in Hong Kong. They called it All-Stars Investment Ltd. and have since been raising impressive amounts of cash for enterprising start-ups. Don't rush off to give Richard Ji a call just yet though... All-Stars is very selective and is known to take on only what they call 'category leaders/killers,' loosely translated as startups with the power to disrupt. According to Ji their focus is on late-stage prospects, instead of companies still finding their feet in the growth stage. “These companies have a disruptive product or business model, and they are the winners of tomorrow” he said.

know where to place your bet

China's Apple, Alibaba etc.

After 11 years in the industry Richard Ji knows where to place his bets. As the chief investor of the Chinese smart phone makers Xiaomi, Ji did not disappoint the company now known as 'China's Apple' and worth US$45 billion after only three years of operation. The company sings his praises and is entrusting him with continuing its fundraising drive. Other high-tech investments include the online fashion merchant Meilishuo, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and taxi-hailing app Didi Dache. What do all these companies have in common? Besides being technology driven, apparently they are all 'category killers' and 'winners of tomorrow.'

It's all a bit hush-hush, but moving ahead fast anyway

Richard Ji declined to divulge the identity of his investors. The only mysterious clue was that part of the vast sums of money come from top Asian corporations and the rest from influential business leaders in the financial, consumer and IT industries. He also wouldn’t reveal how much more money he hopes to raise.

Since raising impressive investments seems to be a walk in the park for Ji, the challenge will be to expand internationally and take on technology investors from all over the world – which I believe is on the cards.