The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Janie Yu, partner, Fung Capital

There has been a long tradition of journalists becoming venture investors ever since legendary investor Michael Moritz gave up covering hardware company Apple at Time magazine in order to join Sequoia Capital in 1986.

One of the most successful of the recent breed, which includes Stewart Alsop a decade later in 1996, Om Malik in 2006 and MG Siegler and Michael Arrington both in 2011, according to research by Business Insider, has been Janie Yu, partner at Fung Capital, the venture unit for the Fung family that separately controls the Fung Group, a conglomerate that has businesses expanding across the entire value chain of retail, from consumer product sourcing, supply chain management, distribution and retail operations.

Yu might have given up being a journalist for BBC/PRI’s co-production, The World, based in China, in 2006 but said: “The investigative nature of the work turned out to be great training for my VC career, and it is fairly intuitive for me to peel the onion and understand the core opportunities and risks of a company.”

Michael Hsieh, president at Fung Capital USA Investments, said: “Let me start off by congratulating you for identifying Janie as a rising star in the world of corporate venture investing. We try to keep her a secret but your research ability is laudatory and I guess it is time for us to share her with the world.

“Janie came to us with no background in finance or venture investing. In fact, she was a former journalist with the BBC in China and obtained her master’s in East Asian studies at Harvard University. This turned out to be the perfect training to become an associate in our firm because she possesses deep intellectual curiosity, quick grasp of complicated concepts and an uncanny ability to elicit information from complete strangers.

“As a result, she was able to identify retail and technology trends that enables us to identify key investments such as HookLogic, Tulip, Narvar, among others in our portfolio and pipeline. She was quickly promoted to vice-president in two years and became a partner in her fourth year. This is a meteoric rise within our organisation.

“Janie’s bilingual and bicultural background also makes her unique in identifying and making cross-border investments between the US and China, especially since there will be increasing capital flows and technology exchanges between the two regions. She is clearly someone to keep an eye on, and I whole-heartedly support and recommend her for your Rising Star award.”

Yu, who after journalism worked in marketing for Burt’s Bees and ad agency Cone, repaid the compliment: “I was fortunate enough to find an amazing team at Fung Capital that has a winning track record due to the domain expertise and focus on retail technologies, which is a great fit for my background. Furthermore, the firm culture also encourages and helps younger team members to grow and flourish, and for me this was an opportunity not to be missed.

“One of the main reasons behind our firm’s success has been focus and discipline. However, for me personally, it has been a learning curve, particularly in the past couple of years when the VC market is so hyped and restless. Occasionally, I get distracted by deals outside of retail tech, and sometimes I fall in love with a company and relax our rigorous screening standards. Fortunately, thanks to the strong team culture, I am able to stay focused and disciplined.”

Although Yu is also on the board for Navar, a US-based customer post-purchase experience management platform, Yu’s biggest success so far was the leading the investment in Hooklogic, a US-based native product ad network that helps brands place product listing ads across leading e-commerce sites such as Walmart, Target and Mayc’s, and provides closed-loop attribution. The company was acquired in November by France-based peer Criteo for $250m, which Yu said was “a great outcome for all shareholders. It also delivered much needed optimism in the depressed ad tech market.

“I firmly believe that CVCs have to see financial return as the primary mandate in order to sustain and grow the industry.

“I challenge myself to continue to make good investments, not just as a portfolio, but every single deal. I would like to help elevate the entire retail industry by investing in innovative technologies that can help retailers and brands operate effectively and deliver a superior experience to consumers.”