While President of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee had front-row seat to China’s technology scene, but he also watched as some 50 employees left to launch “wildly successful” businesses. Today, Lee’s venture firm, Beijing-based Innovation Works, backs similarly motivated entrepreneurs by providing them capital and matching them with high-growth investment theses.
In an exclusive interview with Privcap, Lee discusses what he learned while at the helm of Google, how he selects the startups that he backs, how he partners with other VC firms on seed and further rounds, why Chinese entrepreneurs are more focused on solving real problems than on “truly breakthrough ideas,” and how Innovation Works will distinguish itself in a crowded venture market.
View the full video here - http://www.privcap.com/
Dr. Kai-Fu Lee founded Innovation Works in September, 2009. Innovation Works is an investment company and a business creation platform geared to create the next wave of Chinese high-tech companies and to mentor the next-generation of Chinese entrepreneurs. It is focused on Internet, Mobile Internet, and cloud computing.
Prior to starting Innovation Works, Dr. Lee was a Google Vice President and the President of Google Greater China. During his tenure at Google, Dr. Lee has built-up a 700-person organization and doubled Google China’s market share. Google’
Prior to joining Google, Dr. Lee spent seven years at Microsoft. His last job was Corporate Vice President at Microsoft. His team developed several server products, and key technologies shipped in Office and Windows (such as speech, natural language, and assistance technologies)
From 1996 – 1998, Dr. Lee was Vice President and General Manager at SGI, where his team developed a $200 million line of web servers. He was also the President of Cosmo Software, which developed cross-platform 3D and multimedia software products.
Before joining SGI, Dr. Lee spent six years at Apple, where his last position was the Vice President of its Interactive Media Group, one of the pioneering groups in multimedia in the world. This team developed QuickTime，QuickDraw 3D，QuickTime VR，and PlainTalk.
From 1988-1990, Dr. Lee was on the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, where he received his Ph.D.. His Ph.D. thesis was the world’s first speaker-independent continuous speech-recognition system. This system was selected as the “Most Important Innovation of 1988″ by Business Week. During this period, he also developed an Othello-playing program that won several world-wide championships, and also defeated the human (team) champion.
Dr. Lee is the author of five best-selling books in China, and has given speeches to about half a million students in China. Dr. Lee has an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the City University of Hong Kong. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and a member of the Committee of 100, an elite group of Chinese Americans.