An increasing number of companies across Asia are investing in startups, and these are some of the women powering those CVC efforts.
Global Corporate Venturing is on a mission to highlight the women working in corporate venture globally. We have already looked at women working in this field in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and at women in the Latin American corporate venture ecosystem. Now we are turning to Asia, which has seen strong growth in corporate investment in the past few years.
Chinese companies like Tencent and Alibaba have been prolific investors (as has Japan’s Softbank), and there has been rapid uptake of the corporate investment concept across many Japanese companies in the past few years, with businesses like Toyota and TDK leading the way.
At first glance it may seem that women aren’t prominent in these ecosystems — female investors in Japan, for example, told us that it can still be tough for women to break into this career path. But we do see a number of women, such as Fumiko Uraki at Mitsubishi Chemical Group and Yuko Sasahara Watanabe at NTT Docomo Ventures, leading corporate investment units. And there is a tremendous pipeline of more junior women coming through behind them. These are the ones to watch:
Fumiko Uraki, director at Mitsubishi Chemical Group
Fumiko Uraki, helped set up the corporate venture arm of Mitsubishi Chemical Group.
She initially started at a rival company, BASF. A molecular biologist and environmental scientist by training, she started her career at the German chemicals company working in various sales and business development roles before moving on to the corporate investing team.
“At the time, BASF Venture Capital was looking for a Japan rep for the team, and I raised my hand thinking this job is nothing close to whatever I knew in a chemical company – it’s unique and new.”
In 2016 she moved over to Mitsubishi Chemical Group to help set up the Japanese company’s corporate venturing operations. Mitsubishi Chemical Group has so far invested in 10 startups and engaged with over 250 startup companies globally.
“The most exciting part of my job is meeting wonderful people globally daily who can change the world, learn from them and work together to make the world a better place.”
Yuko Sasahara Watanabe, president of NTT Domoco Ventures
Yuko Sasahara Watanabe is the president and chief executive officer of NTT Docomo Ventures, the corporate venture arm of the Japan-based telecommunications corporation, Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT).
Founded in 2008, the venture arm invests in seed to later-stage companies focusing on the information technology and telecommunication sectors. NTT Docomo Ventures has around 104 companies within its portfolio such as the Japan-based after-hours medical care startup Fast Doctor Co.
Other investments include the French-based third-party game-building developer, Homma, which raised a $50m series A round in 2021, and big data platform RapidSOS which recently raised $75m in a round that also included Honeywell, Microsoft’s M12 Fund and Citi’s Impact Fund.
NTT is a $20.27bn company and is the fourth largest telecommunication corporation in the world.
Watanabe began her career at NTT Docomo in 2008 moving through roles such as senior manager of innovation before taking her current position.
Yoko Fukata, investment director at Sony Innovation Fund
Yoko Fukata started her career as a senior software engineer in 2008 at Sony.
“After I graduated school, I joined Sony as a software engineer, developing new consumer products and services from small to large scale, gaining a lot of experience in an internal startup-like environment. At that time, I learned that, in order to develop a more innovative business, it is important to have not only experience and views of the ‘invested side’ but also experience the ‘investor side‘.
Despite having little experience of financial services, Fukata went on to join Sony’s Innovation Fund as an investment director, bringing technical expertise to the team.
“I had to challenge myself to learn investment know-how and best practices at the time of my transfer. However, I found that my background, which was different from my teammates inspired them and deepened the discussion during our due diligence.
Sony Innovation Fund’s global reach was part of the appeal for Fukata.
“The best part of being a CVC is that there are opportunities to meet extraordinary and exciting startups from around the world on a daily basis, to be involved in maximising cutting-edge technology and advanced businesses, and to be involved in even greater innovation by helping to combine the speed of startups with the abundant resources and assets that only large conglomerate companies can offer.“
Sony Innovation Fund is made up of teams from Tokyo, the US, Europe, Israel and India, and is diverse in many aspects, including gender, country, religion, career and age, making it one of the most diverse CVC organisations among Japanese companies, said Fukata.
“I am fortunate to be in such an environment, where it is natural for me to have different opinions and we all respect the difference and listen and discuss thoroughly with others on a daily basis. However, in organisations where this is not the case, it may take time to change the mindset of the entire group. Hence, as an industry, it may be initially important to promote diversity with numerical targets, not only in the aspect of women.”
Since 2016, the fund has invested in 128 companies including the India-based alternative funding platform GetVantage, which raised $36m this year, and Mediphone, the Japan-based telephone medical interpreter, which has raised a total of $8m in funding.
“To me, it is…important to inspire more people to understand how fun this industry is and how much social impact CVC and VC could make,” says Fukata.
Jutamard Ngamwattana, head of corporate venture capital at True Corporation
Jutamard Ngamwattana is head of corporate venture capital at True Incube, the corporate venture arm of Thailand-based communications company True Corporation.
Founded in 2013, True Incube funds early and growth-stage startups focusing on deeptech and robotics. The accelerator has around 13 companies within its portfolio, including the Thailand-based telemedicine app, ChiiWii, which had an investment value of $1.3m in 2021.
Other company investments include the Cambodia-based digital media group Khemerload.
True Corporation is a $1.5bn TV cable provider and one of Thailand’s largest mobile operators. The corporation has separately invested in over 10 companies and acquired the UK-based in-room hotel tablet provider Crave Interactive in 2019.
Ngamwattana began her stint at True Corporation nearly a year ago. Prior to that, she was an investment manager at AddVentures, a subsidiary of the Thailand-based building materials corporation, Siam Cement Group (SCG).
Annabelle Long, founding and managing partner at BAI Capital
Annabelle Long is the founding and managing partner at BAI Capital, the corporate venture capital of the German-based media corporation Bertelsmann.
The Chinese-headquartered firm, founded in 2008, has a £700m venture capital fund and finances startups in the media, consumer and retail sectors. BAI Captial has around 90 companies within its portfolio, including China-based online education platform Blue Elephant and the China-based mobile auto service platform, CarLink.
Long founded BAI Capital 15 years ago and has been a member of Bertelsmann’s group management committee for 11 years. She has an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Bertelsmann is a $2.4bn media conglomerate and one of the world’s largest publishers. It is the owner of Penguin Round House and RTL Group.
Nicole LeBlanc, partner at Woven Capital
Nicole LeBlanc is a partner at Woven Capital, a subsidiary of Japan-based automotive manufacturer Toyota Motor Corporation. She joined the team in October.
LeBlanc was previously a partner at Denmark-based venture capital group 2150, and also served over three years at Canadian banking firm BDC, where she held positions such as associate director of strategic investments and partnerships and director of strategic investments and women in technology.
Founded in 2021, Woven Capital is the investment arm of Woven Planet Group, the innovation subsidiary of Toyota. It has an $800m fund that it uses to back growth-stage companies in IT and mobility. The firm was founded to help develop and maintain automotive technologies in the Japanese ecosystem. It has three companies within its portfolio, including the US-based mobility products developer Whill, which raised $45m in a series C round in 2018. Woven Planet Holdings also acquired Level 5, the autonomous driving division of US-based transport company Lyft, for $550m in 2021.
Michiko Kato, principal at Woven Planet
Michiko Kato got a taste for startups during a stint as the chief financial officer for a software company, back in 2018. It also taught her something about corporate investors.
“I had a good experience working with CVC when I was a startup CFO, which made me believe in the power of CVC in accelerating the growth of startups,” says Kato, who was also named a GCV Rising Star earlier this year.
Kato had previously been an investor at Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division and then at private equity firm, Unison Capital — with time in between to get an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Joining Woven Capital as a founding member was a move that seemed to bring all these experiences together.
“I was looking for a challenge where I can leverage my background as an investor and operator,” says Kato.
Through her position at Woven Capital, Kato has served as the independent director of a number of portfolio company startups including the Japan-based IT service management platform Hennge, which listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2019.
Tomoko Inoue, chief executive officer and general manager at Omron Ventures
Tomoko Inoue is the chief executive officer and general manager of Omron Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of Japanese automation group Omron.
Established in 2014, Omron Ventures invests in disruptive innovation particularly focusing on digital health, mobility and energy.
Omron Ventures has 18 active portfolio companies such as the US-based medical technology company, Visby Medical, which raised over $100m in a series E round this year, with participation from Cedars Sinai Medical Centre. The unit has also achieved three exits including technology services company Asterisk which exited via a $1.15bn IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Omron is a $453bn corporation that manufactures automation components across sectors in the consumer and medical markets.
Inoue has worked for Omron Ventures for five years and previously served as the vice president for the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, a $20bn government-backed private equity firm focusing on healthcare investments. She was also a founding member and senior manager of MedVenture Partners.
Chiaki Yoshikawa, startup liason at TDK Ventures
Chiaki Yoshikawa started off on TDK’s sales and marketing team, before being recruited to the Japanese conglomerate’s venture unit earlier this year.
“I received an email from TDK Ventures HR asking if I would be interested in applying for their position of startup liaison.”
Yoshikawa, who has a degree in economics from Gakushuin University, helps TDK’s portfolio companies with business development. “We introduced one of our portfolio companies, Actnano, inside the TDK booth at the Ceatec tradeshow in Tokyo. We had significant traction from visitors. It was my happiest moment – entrepreneur success is our happiness.”
Launched in 2019, TDK Ventures invests typically in seed to series B startups focusing on healthcare, IT and industrial sectors. The firm has 26 companies in its portfolio including the US-based water risk management platform, Divirod which has raised a total of $1.14m in funding over four rounds, and the US-based wireless technology platform Xcom Labs.
TDK is a $13.68bn conglomerate that specialises in electronic component manufacturing and media data storage.
Akane (Matsuo) Takimoto, director at MUFG Digital Accelerator and Innovation Programme
Akane (Matsuo) Takimoto is the director of the fintech accelerator programme, MUFG Digital Accelerator, part of the Japan-based financial services company, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG).
Founded in 2015, the accelerator provides mentoring for financial and technology-focused startups and has so far had six cohorts, with five participating companies per batch. Customer management platform Alp and AI-equipped financial data system provider Xenodata Lab are among the graduates.
MUFG is a $3.1 trillion corporation and is Japan’s largest bank.
Takimoto has worked for MUFG for over six years starting off as a senior manager in 2016 before progressing to the current role. Prior to this, she served five years as a director of business and senior manager of business development and corporate planning at Midokura, electronics conglomerate Sony’s edge AI software subsidiary.
Yukiko Kato, executive officer at SBI Investments
Yukiko Kato is the executive officer at SBI Investments, the corporate venture arm of the Japan-based financial services corporation, SBI Group.
SBI Ventures is a long-standing CVC unit, formed in 1996, and typically invests in technology-based startups focusing on artificial intelligence, financial technology, biotechnology and environmental energy. SBI Investments also manages 12 other funds such as the SuMi Trust Innovation Fund. It has a total of $3.1bn under management.
The firm has around 283 companies within its portfolio and has participated in over 440 investments such as the Japan-based climate technology company, Asuene, which recently raised $20m in a series B round. Its portfolio company Freee was recently acquired by Mikatus for an undisclosed sum.
SBI Group is a $4.24bn conglomerate that provides financial services ranging from asset management to financial securities.
Kato has worked for SBI Investment for over 21 years, starting as a manager and venture capitalist before attaining her current position. She acts as the firm’s main point of communication. Previously, she served as a member council for science and technology at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.
Nantiya Thipthanaratchaphong, senior project leader of corporate venture capital at Bangchak Corporation
Nantiya Thipthanaratchaphong is the senior project leader of corporate venture capital at the Thailand-based petroleum refineries conglomerate, Bangchak Corporation.
Founded in 1984, the $6bn company is one of Thailand’s largest and produces power from solar farms, biomass energy and petroleum exploration. The company has invested in two companies, including Enevate, the US-based rechargeable energy storage company which secured $81m in a series E funding round backed by corporations such as Samsung in 2021, and ION Storage systems, which raised $30m in a series A round this year.
The Bangchak Group recently expanded into the natural resources business by acquiring Brage Field and Nova Field, through its portfolio company, the Norway-based corporation Okea ASA.
Thipthanaratchaphong began her career at Bangchak Corporation in 2018, starting off as a researcher before progressing to her current position. She has a doctorate in chemical engineering from Kasetsart University.
Enji Jeong, head of corporate venture capital at Hyundai Motor Company
Enji Jeong is responsible for business development and venture acceleration at Hyundai Motor Company, the South Korea-based automotive corporation.
Founded in 1967, the $313.6bn motor vehicles distributor is one of the most globally recognised brands in the world and owns 33% of the South Korea-based automobile corporation, Kia. The company has invested in over 99 startups such as the US-based fuel cell developer Pajrito Power, which recently raised a series B funding round, bringing its total funding to $9.4m.
Hyundai Motor has also acquired several companies, including the US-based robotics company, Boston Dynamics for $1.1bn in 2021, with other corporations such as SoftBank taking a minority stake in the company.
Jeong joined Hyundai Motor earlier this year. She previously worked at the Korea Institute of Startup & Entrepreneurship Development as a programme manager of the global startup academy.
Serena Mineseon Kim, a corporate venture capitalist at CJ CheilJedang
Serena Mineseon Kim is a corporate venture capitalist at the South Korea-based food company, CJ CheilJedang.
Established in 1953, the $610m corporation manufactures food ingredients and frozen packaged goods and operates in various business segments such as livestock and healthcare. The company has invested in around 29 startups, its most notable being the Ireland-based biotechnological company Nuritas which raised $45m in a series B in 2021, at a valuation of $106.5m.
CJ CheilJedang has acquired four companies, including Batavia Biosciences for $226m earlier this year.
Kim started at CJ CheilJedang in 2017 as an analyst before progressing to her current position in 2021. Prior to this, she worked as a congressional intern for the democratic party whip at the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea and also held the position as a news reporter for Radio Free Asia, a US-based non-profit news service for audiences in Asia.
Ni (Chayanit) Choomwattana, investment manager at SCG Chemicals
Ni (Chayanit) Choomwattana is the investment manager of corporate venture capital at the Thailand-based building materials corporation, Siam Cement Group (SCG).
Founded in 1913, SCG has various subsidiaries in the chemicals and packaging sectors but generates most of its revenue from the chemicals division. The corporation has invested in more than five startups, including Netherlands-based upcycling company, Black Bear Carbon, which raised $7.5m in 2021.
SCG has also acquired six organisations such as UK-based disposable packaging group, Go-Pak UK and FajarPaper, the Indonesia-based paper packaging manufacturer.
Choomwattana began her position as investment manager this year, and prior to this, served as the firm’s assistant manager for five years. Previously, she worked as an energy analyst for the US-based energy management service Quadlogic Controls Corp and served as a research consultant intern at the US-based NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
Jinah Hamh, senior professional at Samsung Electronics
Jinah Hamh is an investment professional at the South Korea-based electronics conglomerate, Samsung Electronics.
Samsung has two investment arms, Samsung Investment Fund (SVI) and Samsung Catalyst Fund. Formed in 1999, the SVI invests in startups focusing on information technology sectors such as semiconductors, AI and machine learning and digital health. Samsung Catalyst fund, established in 2013, invests in deeptech and big data startups.
The corporate subsidiaries collectively have 254 companies within their portfolios and have had 230 exits, one of the most notable being the US-based outdoor security developer Ring, which was acquired by Amazon for $1bn in 2018.
Other notable exits include the US-based invoice-enabled intelligence technology, SoundHound which exited through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) in 2021, and the US-based semiconductor company, Habana Labs, which was acquired by Intel for $2bn in 2019.
Samsung is a $30bn corporation that operates the largest information technology and consumer electronics division in the world, Samsung Electronics. The company operates other subsidiaries such as Samsung Heavy Industries and Samsung Life Insurance.
Hamh has held her position at Samsung Electronics for 17 years, where she operates mainly in the company’s semiconductor division.
Muai Porlanee Jeamsaksiri, principal at SeaX Ventures
Muai Porlanee Jeamsaksiri is a principal at the US-based venture capital firm SeaX Ventures, whose limited partners (LPs) include some of Thailand’s biggest companies.
Established in 2018, SeaX Ventures directs its investments towards technology startups developing artificial intelligence and healthcare technology products. The firm has around 16 companies within its portfolio such as the US-based women’s health company Qvin which has raised a total of $12.5m in funding, and the US-based automation systems developer AiFi, which raised $65m in a series B round this year.
The Thailand branch recently announced the close of its second fund called SeaX Ventures Fund II at an oversubscribed $60m. The fund is dedicated to funding blockchain and web3 companies, with investors including Thairath News and Tks Technologies.
Jeamsaksiri, who works in the Thailand branch of the firm, has held her position for just under a year. Previously, she served nearly two years as an associate director of CT Bright Holdings Limited, the investment arm of the holdings corporation, CP Group, and also worked at the corporate venture capital firm Digital Ventures for three years, as a principal.
Soonhee JiJa Kim, partner at the Bonds Investment Group
Soonhee JiJa Kim is a partner at Bonds Investment Group, the incubator of the Japan-based internet advertising business, Digital Holdings.
Created in 2015, the firm funds startups throughout many sectors that aim to solve major social issues. Bonds Investment Group has over 49 companies within its portfolio.
It has seen several successful portfolio companies exits such as the real-time data replication platform FlyData which was acquired by the ETL platform, Xplenty, in 2021, and the robo-advisor WealthNavi which listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 2020.
Digital Holdings is a $6.64bn corporation focused on the marketing and internet advertising sectors. Founded in 1993, the corporation is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
Kim has been a part of the Bonds Investment Group’s team for five months and previously worked as a chief investment and strategy officer for the Japan-based financial services company OPN. She was also managing partner OPT Sea, the corporate venture arm of Digital Holdings.
Adilah Mohd Saiah corporate venture capital operations and M&A lead at Petronas
Adilah Mohd Saiah is the corporate venture capital operations and M&A lead at Petronas Ventures, the corporate venture arm of the Malaysian state-owned oil and gas corporation, Petronas.
Founded in 2019, Petronas Ventures has a $350m venture capital fund, investing in tech innovation, especially in the oil and gas sectors. The company has seven companies within its portfolio, including the US-based carbon recycler, LanzaTech which recently struck a $500m financing deal with Brookfield Renewable Corporation and went public after its merger with AMCI for $200m in 2022.
Other notable investments include Malaysian services provider Braintree Technologies, and Malaysia-based drone solutions generator Aerodyne, which secured $30m in funding this year.
Saiah is a veteran at Petronas, having worked for the corporation for over 22 years. She started as an engineer for the corporation’s special projects unit before moving to the company’s corporate venturing division.
Isabel Ting-Hsuan Lo, an associate at Hearst Ventures
Isabel Ting-Hsuan Lo is an associate at Hearst Ventures, the corporate arm of the US-based media company, Hearst Communications.
Founded in 1995, Hearst Ventures finances startups operating in the media, entertainment and technology sectors. The firm has around 62 companies within its portfolio and has overseen over 187 investments including the US-based computational journalism startup, Applied Xl which raised $1.5m in a seed funding round in 2021, and the US-based medical obesity treatment provider Intellihealth.
Hearst Ventures has also seen 77 portfolio companies exit, including Netherlands-based real-estate risk assessment platform GeoPhy which was recently acquired by Walker & Dunlop.
Hearst Communications is a $30bn conglomerate that owns international magazines and television stations such as the San Francisco Chronicle and Cosmopolitan.
Lo has worked for Hearst Ventures’ China-based division for over eight years, beginning as the firm’s venture assistant intern in 2015. She later became a corporate development analyst, working specifically on M&A deal execution before moving to focus on series A to C startup investments.
Li Huizi, investment director at Meituan
Li Huizi is an investment director at Meituan, a China-based shopping and food delivery service corporation.
Founded in 2010, Meituan specialises in food delivery from local restaurants and bars. The company has invested in over 61 startups, the most notable being the China-based autonomous cleaning robots developer Gaussian Robotics which raised a total of $118m in a series C funding round in 2021.
Other notable investments include the US-based machine vision technology producer, Flexiv which has raised a total of $196.5m in funding and the US-based autonomous freight service network, Inceptio Technology, which raised a total of $678m in funding.
Huizi has held her position as investment director of corporate strategy and investment for over five years.
Prior to this, she worked as a consultant for the German-based consulting firm Roland Berger. She has degrees in economics and urban planning.
Wei Lu, an investment director at L’Oréal
Wei Lu is the investment director for the French-based cosmetics giant, L’Oréal, working for the brand’s China division.
L’Oréal operates various incubators and corporate venture units such as its Technology Incubator, found in 2012 and the Business Opportunities for L’Oréal Development (Bold) its venture capital fund, launched in 2018.
L’Oreal’s Bold has eight companies in its portfolio and has invested in 11 startups, including France-based perfume store Silliages Paris, which closed last summer, and the France-based chemicals company Global Bioenergies went on to list on the New York Stock Exchange.
Founded in 1909, L’Oréal is a $184.7bn corporation making it the largest cosmetics company in the world.
Lu has been an investment director for over a year, in charge of L’Oréal’s North Asia division. Previously, she spent five years as an investment director at Faurecia, a France-based automotive corporation.
Grace Wei, director of the strategic investment department at Ele.me
Grace Wei works as director of the strategic investment department at Ele.me, an Alibaba-owned online food delivery service platform.
The company was acquired in 2018 by Alibaba Group. The corporation has invested in four startups in the consumer and technology sector, with its most notable being a China-based high-tech enterprise organisation, Uditech, which has raised a total of $31.1m in funding, and the China-based electric vehicle power provider, Halou Huandian, which has raised a total of $434,088.
Wei has held her position at Ele.me for five years and works closely with startups in the portfolio. Prior to this, she worked in the investment department at Sumitomo Corporation and served over a year as a senior manager at Baidu Waimai.
Jieyu Zou, a partner at Lilly Asia Ventures
Jieyu Zou is a partner of Lilly Asia Ventures, a subsidiary of the US-based pharmaceutical corporation, Eli Lilly.
Launched in 2008, Lilly Asia Ventures is headquartered in China, investing in healthcare and life sciences-based startups in the US and China. The firm currently has 103 companies within its portfolio and has invested in over 235 startups, including the US-based oncology treatment developer Auron Therapeutics, which recently raised $48m in a series A round, and Photys Therapeutics, the US-based small molecule treatment developer that raised $75m in a series A round.
Lilly Asia Ventures has also seen around 49 company exits, such as the China-based chronic inflammatory disease treatment developer, Connect Biopharma, which exited via IPO on NASDAQ in 2021.
Eli Lilly is a $28.81bn conglomerate that hosts an office in over 18 countries and sells its pharmaceuticals in approximately 125 countries. The corporation is known for its development of clinical depression drugs and diabetes medication.
Zou began her career at Lilly Asia Ventures over seven years ago, where she began as an investment manager. Prior to this, Zou worked as a research associate for the Michael Allen Company. She has also worked as a product and research scientist at Procter & Gamble.
Wanyi Zhao, an associate at BASF Ventures
Wanyi Zhao is an associate at BASF Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of German-based chemicals corporation BASF.
Founded in 2001, BASF Ventures finances startups focusing on chemicals, agriculture and biotechnology. The firm has established offices in several regions such as in Europe, the US and China, where Zhao operates.
The firm has around 42 companies within its portfolio and has overseen over 120 investments including backing, India-based ocean farming company Sea6 Energy which recently raised $18.5m in a series B round, and China-based pork chain digital solutions provider, SmartAHC, which has raised a total of $4.5m.
BASF is a $5.7bn conglomerate and is the largest chemicals producer in the world. The company has had a strong presence in Asia since 2005, where the corporation invested $5.8bn into their sites based in Nanjing and Shanghai.
Zhao has been at BASF Ventures for four years. Prior to this, she worked as a senior analyst at Prosnav Capital, a China-based private equity firm and was a consulting analyst at The Muthoot Group.
Yuxin Zhang, senior associate at Tencent Cloud Strategic Investment
Yuxin Zhang is a senior associate at Tencent Cloud Strategic Investment, a subsidiary of the China-based conglomerate, Tencent.
Formed in 2011, Tencent Investment funds startups developing wireless internet and new media technologies. The firm has over 487 companies within its portfolio and has had more than 70 exits, including China-based online movie booking platform, Beijing Weiying Technology, which was bought by Maoyan Entertainment.
Other notable investments feature the US-based computer networking company, Barefoot Networks, which raised $800m in a series D round led by Tencent in 2019, and Canadian predictive software company Chematria, which raised $123m in a series B round in 2020.
Zhang has been at Tencent for more than two years. Previously she was a senior analyst and investment manager at SoftBank China Capital, the corporate venture arm and Chinese subsidiary of the Japan-based conglomerate SoftBank Group.
Tracy Guo, senior investment manager at Trip.com
Tracy Guo is the senior investment manager at Trip.com Group, the China-based multinational online travel company.
Founded in 1999, Trip.com Group is known for its corporate travel management and accommodation reservation services. The company also owns many successful travel-based agencies such as the UK-based metasearch engine Skyscanner and the China-based travel firm Qunar.com.
Trip.com Group has invested in over 61 companies including the China-based hotel robotics service provider, Yunji Technology which secured $77m in a series B+ round in 2021, and China-based immigration service platform, Hinabian which has raised $4.5m in a series B round in 2018.
Guo has been at Trip.com for more than five years. Previously she was a senior consultant at the management consulting group, Deloitte and worked in the investment banking division of Deutsche Bank.
Xiao Le, head of strategy development and senior director of JD Worldwide
Xiao Le is the head of strategy development and senior director of JD Worldwide, a subsidiary of the China-based eCommerce corporation, JD.com
Founded in 1999, JD.com is the second largest eCommerce platform in China participating in sectors such as internet finance, cloud computing and smart technology. The $77.9bn corporation is partly owned by the conglomerate, Tencent which has a 20% in the company.
JD.com has made 93 investments seen more than 22 companies exit, including the China-based telecommunications company, China Mobile which listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange for $8.78bn making it the world’s second-largest IPO in 2021.
Other notable investments include the China-based grocery app Xingsheng Youxuan, which raised $2bn in 2021, and China-based bidding C2B platform, Aihuishou which raised $100m in a series E round in 2020.
Le has been working for JD.com for over five years. She leads overseas strategy planning and manages the corporation’s investment analysis. Previously, Le was a senior analyst for the New York City Office of the Mayor and also served a year as a research fellow at the United Nations Development Programme.
Ruoxi Zha, investment manager at Alibaba Innovation Ventures
Ruoxi Zha is an investment manager at Alibaba Innovation Ventures, the corporate incubator of the China-based eCommerce conglomerate Alibaba Group.
Founded in 2008, Alibaba Innovation Ventures invests in early-stage to growth-stage transportation and telecommunication-based startups. The incubator has invested in companies such as the AI computer vision company, Nexar, which received $53m in a series D round in 2021, and the China-based system software producer, Cambrian Technologies.
Alibaba Group is a $191bn corporation that provides consumer-to-consumer sales services.
Zha has worked for Alibaba Innovation Ventures for over four years. Prior to this, she worked as a consultant for EY’s business risk advisory division and worked as a senior associate for the China-based venture capital firm, Ether Capital
Carol Zhou, senior vice president of the China business innovation and investments division for The Shiseido Beauty Innovations Fund
Carol Zhou is the senior vice president of the China business innovation and investments division for the Shiseido Beauty Innovations Fund, a subsidiary of the Japan-based cosmetics giant, Shiseido.
Established in 2022, the $140m fund is managed by the consumer-focused private equity firm, Boyu Capital, and invests in emerging cosmetics and wellness brands. The fund recently invested in the China-based recombinant collagen-based product maker, Jiangsu Trautec Medical Technology.
Shiseido is a $16.76bn corporation that focuses on developing skincare, makeup and hair products. The company has acquired several companies such as MatchCo, the US-based customisable foundation matching technology developer.
Zhou has worked for Shiseido for over three years, promoting strategic alliances with local partners in China, and looking for M&A opportunities. Prior to this, she was director of marketing in the Asia Pacific region for the UK-based luxury fashion house, Burberry and before that was the global marketing director at the France-based cosmetics conglomerate, L’Oréal. Read more about the beauty industry in China here.
Additional reporting by Edison Fu.
This article is part of an ongoing project at GCV to highlight women working in corporate venturing. If we’ve left anyone off this list, or you would like to propose someone to include in one of our lists for another region, please get in touch with Roshini Bains at email@example.com.