John Wei, director at Applied Ventures, is one of our 50 Emerging Leaders in corporate venturing in 2023.

John Wei has been instrumental in organising a grassroots effort to improve the environmental performance of the semiconductor industry. After seeing environmental, social and governance was not a priority in the sector, Wei connected with other semiconductor corporate VCs such as Intel Capital and Micron Ventures to promote awareness of sustainability in chip manufacturing and to attract startups to work with them.

In September 2021 Wei, with the help of other CVCs, organised a one-day online forum to discuss sustainability in the semiconductor industry. This led to the creation of an annual event, held in collaboration with industry trade group SEMI, where companies pitch ideas for reducing water, energy and chemical use.

“There is a recognition that there are a lot more things coming up that will eventually affect the semiconductor industry.”

Wei, who has been on GCV’s Emerging Leaders list twice before, has a PhD in chemical engineering, an MBA in venture capital and investment finance, and a masters in computer science. His focus is on semiconductor technologies in materials, processes and manufacturing. He also looks at software solutions in advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics. Wei used to cover investments in China but has shifted this focus to Southeast Asian countries such as Singapore, Japan and Korea because of political tensions between China and the US that have increased scrutiny of semiconductor investments.

He is a passionate consumer of information and advises CVC professionals to learn as much as they can about innovations and not be limited to their particular sector or mandate.

Since Wei started at Applied Ventures two years ago, he has noticed the unit become open to investing in longer-term technologies that expand on its existing business model. Life sciences is one such area. “There is a recognition that there are a lot more things coming up that will eventually affect the semiconductor industry,” says Wei.

See the rest of our Top Emerging Leaders for 2023 here.

Kim Moore

Kim Moore is the editor of Global University Venturing and deputy editor of Global Corporate Venturing and produces video for the website.