- BEFORE WE SET OFF
Running a fund is much like running a startup, to which positioning is key. Here at ONES Ventures, we are trying to do something different, in both branding and modus operandi.
Of course just being different is not our end. We believe that the future is driven by those “cool kids” rather than the rich and powerful. Most funds, including those with early twentyish managers, are in effect controlled by the senior managing partners. They may have built their own businesses in the past, but most of them are now full-time investors. At ONES, we are looking for outstanding young entrepreneurs to join us as part-time partners. The idea is that they would be able to understand their fellow entrepreneurs in the same age cohort better and thus discover those with great potential. And for startups at early stage, founders are often most crucial. That’s why we aim to build a fund where young entrepreneurs can truly have a say in the internal decision-making process.
So we prefer companies that are still in their early stage with a charismatic founder, that are trying to do something cool, and that will likely be growing exponentially in future. It is difficult to unearth such opportunities for sure, but we have patience with and confidence in our peers. We also believe that such opportunities lie far beyond the realm of TMT, which is undeniably the trend today. We know that many companies in Y Combinator are not in the internet industry, and that some are even social enterprises or nonprofits. But they are as cool as other startups, if not cooler. And what do we mean by “cool”? Aspiration, Responsibility, Fun, Curiosity, and most importantly, Imagination. ONES is not big in scale in the ecosystem of capital; it is like a microbe, but we hope to make it a pretty COOL one.
In addition to thinking different, the founder of a startup should also think deep and have a great taste. Our media lab, ONES Idea, can provide the our portfolios with branding services ranging from VI design to video production.
As Whitman said,
“That the powerful play goes on,
And you may contribute a verse.”
- YOUR TRAVEL COMPANIONSNing RenKnowing less and less about more and more.
Ning received his B.A. in Management from Monash University (Australia), and a M.A. in Finance from Hult International Business School (US). He also once studied English at UCLA (US) and Japanese Culture & Literature at Osaka University (Japan) during an exchange program. When in Monash, he wrote book reviews as a columnist for the Australian i.M Magazine, and curated the Melbourning International Photography Exhibition.
He is also an active and award-winning practitioner in other fields. Woman In Fragments, the last short film he produced, was accepted into the Short Film Corner at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. And the latest film project has won the Grand Prize at Hongkong Asia Film Financing Forum. The marketing campaign he created for UNICEF was shortlisted at the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
He used to work at the San Francisco headquarter of Charles Schwab, in charge of optimizing customer experience through quantitative analysis. Now he works and lives in Shanghai and Shaoxing, but often you would find him on his way to Beijing, Hangzhou or your city.Congcong HeDo it Now.
Congcong holds a B.A. in English Literature and Language from Beijing Foreign Studies University. She also studied at University of Leicester (UK) in her junior year, focusing on the Restoration Literature and the Perception of “Body” in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. Later, she received her M.A. in Finance from Hult International Business School (US).
She used to live and work in the Bay Area for two years, working at Berkeley Investment Advisors as an investment data analyst. In 2013, she returned to Shanghai and joined Whirlpool China as a Management Trainee in Finance.
She is an advocate of the Lean In values and Japanese Wabi-sabi aesthetics, and loves specialty coffee and Airbnb travel. She practices yoga and jog occasionally. A fan of Golden State Warriors.Federico Li
A half designer born in Italy, half engineer dropping out of Berkeley and 100% entrepreneur raised in Shanghai.
Federico studied business management in secondary school for four years, during which time he founded two companies. He used to run a Taobao shop, built websites, managed a physical store and toiled in a factory.
Then he went to UC Berkeley (US), majoring in Entrepreneurship and Energy Engineering, but wound up dropping out of school with two students to co-found his third venture. Now under the mentorship of founder/ former CTO of LinkedIn, his team is developing a virtual personal assistant based on social data mining and artificial intelligence. He has also worked as an analyst at InnoSpace (Shanghai), helping startups to improve their business plans and pitch decks.
He has a sweet tooth, and loves uncommon animals, raising a sea turtle, a shark and a boa constrictor as his pets. He also excels at extreme sports including skiing, skateboarding and fixed gear bicycle.Baoguang Zhai“There is a perception that some things are sort of better than other things, sometimes. But the reality is probably more extreme than that.”
When in Tufts University (US), Baoguang completed three programs—environmental science, economics and international relations—in just three years. He spent over a year exploring in the Silicon Valley, including working for Peter Thiel’s Fellowship program.
In 2012, he joined Blueseed—a project that turned a cruise ship on the high seas near the Silicon Valley into an incubator for foreign entrepreneurs—as the team’s only Chinese member, and helped the project secure its angel investment.
He was also a founding member of PingWest, and has published quite a few articles on entrepreneurship and technology. Later he joined Uber China as the second employee in mainland.A ferocious reader of military leaders’ memoirs, a big fan of the Netherlands soccer team and Zidane, and a left wing player in soccer.Frances ChenIf not now, when?A lawyer by training, an entrepreneur at heart and in practice, an aspiring poet born in China, educated and raised in the U.S.A.She has worked at Panalpina and LexisNexis, and with international law firms such as Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP and Dorsey & Whitney LLP.Frances is known to be super-duper resourceful wherever she goes. She enjoys cycling alone, hiking with friends, and exploring different cities. She is also the founder of WeVenues, a startup that connects people to suitable venues.
Wenjie ZhangAim High.Wenjie has worked at Softbank and KingSoft Japan. He is a full stack engineer who claims Tokyo as his second hometown, an enthusiast for mathematician, logicality and mythology.As a serial entrepreneur, Wenjie is now working on his third venture NESTA.