China has the world’s fastest trains, the biggest factories and the most Man United fans, and it’s also home to the biggest venture capital fund for MBA students that we’ve come across at BusinessBecause.
Earlier this year, the Shanghai-based China Europe International Business School
(CEIBS) launched CEIBS-CHENGWEI Venture Capital, a venture capital fund worth a hefty US$100 million which will only invest in early or growth stage businesses founded or managed by CEIBS alumni.
The fund has three priorities: providing equity finance for CEIBS students and alumni; helping CEIBS entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by connecting them with the wider CEIBS community; and supporting CEIBS by ploughing the fund’s profits back into teaching and research at the school.
Investments will range in size from $500,000 to $15 million. CEIBS entrepreneurs who need financing are invited to submit their business plans directly to the CEIBS-CHENGWEI team
The fund is led by senior CEIBS faculty and the founder of Chengwei Capital, Dr Eric X. Li. Li founded Chengwei Capital in 1999, when he returned to Shanghai after an MBA at Stanford. It is one of the earliest independent venture capital funds in China and counts the Yale University Endowment as its largest investor.
Chengwei Capital’s 30-odd investments include AntonOil, China’s largest privately owned drilling services firm, with operations in Africa, and Youkou, China’s largest internet TV company. Chengwei also recently invested in Polyera, a nanotechnology firm based in Illinois.
In 2007 Chengwei Capital invested in CEIBS Publishing, helping make CEIBS
the only business school in China with its own publishing house. Harvard Business Publishing, watch this space!
Chengwei Capital has also partnered with CEIBS to run a series of seminars around the world covering hot business topics and attracting high profile speakers. These include an Economic Forum – in 2011 titled Pulling through turmoil the Chinese way – and the China Meets Africa Forum in Accra, Ghana.
Earlier this month, the CEIBS-Chengwei Europe Forum in London hosted speakers such as Liu Xiaoming, China’s Ambassador to the UK; Cheng Siwei, former Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress; Sir Leon Brittain, former Vice President of the European Commission; the Deans of CEIBS and London Business School; and FT journalist Gideon Rachman.
Topics covered included frank discussion of China’s responsibilities as a global superpower, whether or not China will (or should) transition to Western style democracy, demographic and environmental challenges, and the right level of government intervention in the economy going forward.