Hutong (Ad)Ventures #2: William Bao Bean, Partner @ SOSV, MD China Accelerator & MOX

Hutong (Ad)Ventures is a podcast on how to succeed in China featuring top venture capital investors, founders and operators with real China experiences. Hutong (Ad)Ventures is part of Haymarket HQ, hosted by Jemma Xu.

William Bao Bean is a General Partner at SOSV, a US$300m venture capital fund that invests in startups in its accelerators across the world. William is also the Managing Director of SOSV’s Chinaccelerator, China first startup accelerator based in Shanghai and MOX, SOSV’s mobile only accelerator platform SE Asia. Prior to joining SOSV, William was the Managing Director at SingTel Innov8, where he led investments in Yodo1 and Gmobi, among many others. Previously, William was a Partner at Softbank China & India Holdings. William began his career as an equity research analyst, most recently with Deutsche Bank, where he was responsible for Internet and Telecom Equipment across Asia and China technology, media and telecom. In 2005, he was ranked #1 stock picker in Technology, Media and Telecom, and #3 overall for Hong Kong/China.


Key points covered:

0:00  William’s background and introduction to China Accelerator.

4:52:  How has the investment thesis differed amongst Softbank China, Singtel and SOSV?

11:00 What are the differences between Chinese consumers and SE Asia consumers?

14:10 How to do social commerce in China?

16:50 Why does SOSV only invest in startups going through its accelerators?

17:40 Chinaccelerator invests in convertible notes. What are differences in convertible note terms between China and the West?

20:10 Have there been any issues working with local Chinese investors and how to resolve them?

25:40 What is a portfolio company that has succeeded and why?

30:24 What are examples of companies or sectors where things did not go well?

32:23 Chinese B2C startups prioritise market share. Is burning cash for market share a necessary first step? How has that changed recently?

36:46: As China market matures, how has SOSV’s investment thesis changed?

45:05: What is the one most absurd investment term William has come across?

Items mentioned:

SOSV’s China focussed China Accelerator

SOSV’s South East Asia’s focussed MOX Accelerator

Singtel Innov8 investment: GMobi

China Accelerator portfolio company: OCheng

China Accelerator portfolio company: The Fashory

Favourite book: Lean Startup

Favourite Chinese company: Tencent

Other books recommended: Only The Paranoid Survive, Innovator’s Dilemma

Favourite Chinese investor: Lei Jun (Entrepreneur and Investor), Founder of Xiaomi and Founding Partner Shunwei Capital

Chinese phrases mentioned: Shanzhai 山寨: copycats / lookalikes

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