26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Jonathan Larsen, Global Voyager Fund
Jonathan Larsen is chief innovation officer of China-based insurer Ping An Group and chairman and chief executive of its corporate venturing Ping An Global Voyager Fund.
Larsen joined the Voyager Fund upon its launch in May 2017 from financial services firm Citigroup where he had held several Singapore and Hong Kong-based roles for nearly two decades. The fund pledged a $1bn commitment to invest in healthcare and financial technology developers mainly based outside of China.
A senior executive at Ping An Insurance Group told CNBC in October last year that the fund was had the international focus because it wanted to compete with China-based tech majors that have invested abroad – e-commerce group Alibaba and internet group Tencent.
Larson told CNBC that the fund had targeted areas that were relevant to the health sector, such as digital imaging, brain scans and X-rays. He said: “We are working with a company right now that can identify 30 diseases with an AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm by scanning the back of your eye. These technologies have transformative power, not just in emerging markets but actually all over the world.”
Echoing what he had said at the WSJ D.Live Asia 2017 conference in Hong Kong that the unit would seek companies its parent company could learn from, he told CNBC that it was not really about “putting lots and lots of capital to build up a user base”, but rather an “asset-light model where Ping An can be a technology enabler”.
Amid the delicate relationship between the US and China lately, Larsen told CNBC that the unit would invest in the US but “relatively small in scale”. He added: “Our typical ticket size is going to be in the $10m to $30m range on average. Our largest deal size might be $100m. Typically, we are looking at 10% to 20% of a company and some kind of ongoing partnership or option in the longer term for such a partnership.”
Ping An has 180 million customers, 1.4 million insurance agents, 6,000 branches and extensive digital distribution assets in mainland China. Donald Lacey, managing director and chief operating officer of the Voyager Fund, said at last year’s GCV Asia Congress in Hong Kong that Ping An was the largest insurance company in the world. One in every 1,000 people in China was a direct or indirect agent, and one in 10 was insured by the company.
Lacey added that the Voyager Fund had a history of building fintech and healthtech businesses at scale, such as Ping An Good Doctor, a telemedicine platform listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange, on which some 200 million digital users could consult doctors. “That gives us an interesting scale and access to introduce new technologies, new capabilities that we find in different parts of the world,” he said.
Ping An said it had already built digital service ecosystems in four areas – financial service, real estate finance, healthcare and automobile sales and servicing. Internet finance platform Lufax is an example of fintech innovator.
Ping An is providing all of its capital, and Larsen said the firm’s eventual aim was to become a “data business”, with Voyager Fund part of several open innovation ventures.
The ventures in question include an established CVC fund called Ping An Ventures and high-profile investments in domestic companies such as Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing service then known as Didi Kuaidi, e-commerce platform Mogujie and live streaming platform Huya.
The Voyager Fund’s latest deals include a $9m series C round for US-based remote medical examination technology developer TytoCare and a series B round of undisclosed amount for China-based smart healthcare technology provider Airdoc both in January this year, a €41.5m ($47.3m) venture round for Germany-based fintech company builder Finleap in November 2018 and a $70m series C round for Israel-based medical diagnostics technology developer MeMed in September 2018.
In September 2017, the Voyager had made its first deal when UK-based financial services portal developer 10x Future Technologies, also known as 10xbanking, raised £34m ($46m) and said it might partner Ping An to enter the Asian market.
To help its transformation of financial services, Larsen in October 2017 hired his former Citigroup’s Asia head of insurance investment banking Donald Lacey.
Before joining Ping An, Larsen spent 18 years at Citigroup where he was most recently the Hong Kong-based, global head of the firm’s retail banking and mortgages businesses, that had about $12bn in revenues and spanning 19 countries.
He has been at the leading edge of the financial services industry for the last 29 years across the Asia Pacific region and globally.
Before Citi, Larsen was a principal in the financial services practice of global management consulting firm Booz Allen & Hamilton where he spent eight years advising large banks and other financial institutions across Asia, Australia and New Zealand and in the US and Europe.
He is a Distinguished Fellow of the Institute of Banking and Finance, Singapore, and was named Retail Banker of the Year in 2011 by Asian Banker magazine, after gaining a bachelor honours degree from University of Melbourne.