GCV Synergize 2017
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16 September 2017

Editorial: Update on GCV Rising Stars shows promotions and changes

For potential nominations to the 2018 GCV Rising Stars list, please contact me at jmawson@mawsonia.com

Author: James Mawson, Editor-in-chief

There have been plenty of changes to the roles of many of Global Corporate Venturing’s Rising Stars 2017 winners.

In the past nine months, 18 have been promoted or changed to more senior roles, including Karen Zhang, executive director for investment at China-based search engine provider Baidu, who has moved on to principal and head of China internet and technology at growth equity firm General Atlantic (GA).

Zhang joined Baidu in February 2015, her deals covering mid to late-stage technology and media and included Lianjia.com, Miya Baby, EDaixi, Doumi, MWee, SMI Culture, LeCheBang, Kuaishou, Womai.com and Bolomi.

As a former China-based director at Japan-listed investment company Jafco for nearly six-and-a-half years, Zhang sat on boards of Boqii.com, Showworld, EasyPrint, iHaveu.com, Motor2, and DHGate.com, with successful flotations of Tarena and eHi on US stock exchanges and trade sales of 51wan.com, acquired by Great Wall Cartoon for $80m, and Amsky at a five-times return on investment.

Zhang first managed companies while at Goldman Sachs after the millennium before becoming an associate in the global principal investment division of investment banking peer Merrill Lynch until September 2008. At Merrill Lynch shemade four growth equity deals at between $20-40m in the greater China area.

We are delighted GA will be at our GCV Asia Congress this next week so we can pass on our congratulations to them for the great hire.

In addition, Penglan (William) Zhao is still at Bertelsmann Asia Investments, but was promoted to vice-president from senior investment manager.

On the other side of the Pacific, Jeff Allen, Mastercard’s vice-president for strategic investments, has become principal for strategic business development at online retailer Amazon. He joined credit card operator Mastercard in August 2009 from an investment banking role at Sagent Advisors, and was a noted thought-leader in the industry, having published in Global Corporate Venturing in February his “five success factors in strategic investing”.

At the time of Allen’s Rising Stars award, Mastercard’s portfolio consisted of about 20 active investments, including SecureKey, a Canada-based identity and authentication technology developer where he was a board observer, and which raised C$27m ($20.5m) in October last year. 

Further details on all the moves among the Rising Stars and their peers can be found at www.globalcorporateventuring.com, with thanks to reporters Robin Brinkworth and Alice Tchernokoova for identifying these latest moves and promotions.

There are, however, a few other moves in these 18 that have yet to emerge publicly, but congratulations to them as they set up new funds or work with more strategic-focused VCs. For potential nominations to the 2018 GCV Rising Stars list, please contact me at jmawson@mawsonia.com

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