future capital, li auto’s first institutional investor, in search of visionary start-ups

Future Capital, the first institutional investor to back China’s smart electric vehicle (EV) start-up Li Auto, is on the lookout for entrepreneurs whose Midas touch can generate products similar to Apple’s iPhone and Tesla’s cars.

Huang Mingming, founding partner of the Beijing-based venture capital group, told the South China Morning Post that top-notch business leaders like the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and Tesla CEO Elon Musk are able to perceive revolutionary products beyond consumers’ imaginations.

“These entrepreneurs can read consumers’ minds and create innovative products catering to their demands,” Huang said. “They accomplish impossible missions, but their forward-thinking ability can also help define the trend of the whole industry.”

Huang likens Li Xiang, co-founder and CEO of Beijing-headquartered Li Auto, to Jobs and Musk, touting him as a rare breed whose vision for battery-powered vehicles sets the tone for the future of mobility.

The venture capitalist established Future Capital in 2014 after Kanbox, a Dropbox-like personal storage service provider he founded, was acquired by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding, owner of the Post.

“Smart EV is the industry where the latest energy, computing and internet as well as artificial intelligence (AI) technologies can be fully utilised to develop new-generation products to enrich people’s lives and make a difference in the world in terms of ESG (environmental, social and governance),” he said. “The industry offers the best investment opportunities over the next five to 10 years.”

future capital, li auto’s first institutional investor, in search of visionary start-ups

Huang Mingming, founder and CEO of Future Capital. Photo: Handout

Huang is an eloquent speaker when sharing his insights into tech trends, but he is also willing to invest against the trend.

“A product that is well received by the capital markets may not necessarily be an ideal investment target because it may not solve true user pain points, which is what matters the most over the long run,” he said. “Talented product managers are rare species.”

With close to US$1 billion under management, Future Capital has invested in about 160 start-ups engaged in enterprise, deep tech and advanced consumer technology.

Li Auto, Shanghai-headquartered Nio and Guangzhou-based XPeng are all regarded as China’s best challengers to Tesla, which is the runaway leader in China’s premium EV segment.

But Li Auto’s extended-range battery technology – pitched as a solution to the challenges of inadequate charging infrastructure and battery technology constraints – was shunned by many venture capitalists when it was introduced in 2015.

However, Li Auto’s EVs are also fitted with a small internal combustion engine to generate additional electrical power when needed on clogged roads.

The carmaker, listed in both New York and Hong Kong, has delivered a return of more than 60 times for Future Capital on initial round investment back in 2015.

Future Capital still owns Li Auto shares but Huang did not reveal its total investment holdings in the company.

Other portfolio companies include Niu Technologies, a Chinese electric scooter company, robotics start-up Megarobo, and database software firm Pingcap.

future capital, li auto’s first institutional investor, in search of visionary start-ups

A 2021 Model 3 sedan charges at a Tesla dealership in Littleton, Colorado, June 27, 2021. Photo: AP

“The rapid growth of the mainland’s EV industry has been a godsend to China’s economy and investment community,” said Ding Haifeng, a consultant at Shanghai-based financial advisory firm Integrity. “As an early investor in Li Auto, Future Capital has accumulated sufficient knowledge about the industry and will be able to find other promising smart EV-related start-ups.”

Swiss bank UBS predicted last year that three out of every five new cars on the Chinese mainland will be powered by batteries by 2030 amid an accelerated pace of electrification on the nation’s roads.

Huang said Future Capital had no immediate plan to invest into another electric carmaker, but would look at new technologies along the value chain that have strong potential to deliver value and be commercialised in future.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Automated Trading Platforms: Are They Good Or Bad For Your Trading Activity?

(Photo : Wance Paleri on Unsplash) In a world dominated by technological innovations, everyone’s life is impacted. Whether you are a housekeeper, teacher, or trading professional, technology makes part of your daily activities. Thus, it’s an inevitable factor shaping how we live, work, communicate and spend our free time. ...

View more: Automated Trading Platforms: Are They Good Or Bad For Your Trading Activity?

Bitcoin Mining Is Incurring Greater Climate Damages than Mining Real Gold: Study

Recent research on Bitcoin’s environmental and climate impact suggests that it may be the literal embodiment of ‘dirty money.’ According to The Guardian, the digital coin has a greater climate impact than gold mining, natural gas extraction, or cattle rearing for meat. Bitcoin and Its Staggering Climate Damages As cryptocurrencies ...

View more: Bitcoin Mining Is Incurring Greater Climate Damages than Mining Real Gold: Study

Biomarkers used to track benefits of anti-aging therapies can be misleading, suggests the 'Lifespan Machine'

Worms living in a petri dish in the Lifespan Machine. Many worms can share a single petri dish, with the scanner monitoring each individual simultaneously. Credit: Nicholas Stroustrup/CRG We all grow old and die, but we still don’t know why. Diet, exercise and stress all affect our lifespan, but ...

View more: Biomarkers used to track benefits of anti-aging therapies can be misleading, suggests the 'Lifespan Machine'

Observations confirm model predictions of sea-level change from Greenland melt

As ice sheets and glaciers on Greenland melt and the water is redistributed around the global oceans, sea level does not rise uniformly. New research using high-latitude measurements by satellites confirms computational models that forecast lower sea level around Greenland but higher levels farther away. Credit: Matthew Hoffman Rising ...

View more: Observations confirm model predictions of sea-level change from Greenland melt

Process converts polyethylene bags, plastics to polymer building blocks

UC Berkeley chemists have developed a new process, called isomerizing ethenolysis, to degrade polyethylene plastics, such as the milk bottle shown in the background, to propylene — the building block for another plastic, polypropylene. In the graphic, polyethylene chains (long web-like strands represented at the molecular level by the ...

View more: Process converts polyethylene bags, plastics to polymer building blocks

Researchers detect the first definitive proof of elusive sea level fingerprints

Photo of a glacier. Credit: Kenichiro Tani When ice sheets melt, something strange and highly counterintuitive happens to sea levels. It works basically like a seesaw. In the area close to where theses masses of glacial ice melt, ocean levels fall. Yet thousands of miles away, they actually rise. ...

View more: Researchers detect the first definitive proof of elusive sea level fingerprints

'Mystery gene' matures the skeleton of the cell

Microscopy image of actine. (Actine is yellow, cell core is blue). Credit: Peter Haarh, Netherlands Cancer Institute “I’m a professional pin-in-a-haystack seeker,” geneticist Thijn Brummelkamp responds when asked why he excels at tracking down proteins and genes that other people did not find, despite the fact that some have ...

View more: 'Mystery gene' matures the skeleton of the cell

Microsoft finally adds a Task Manager link to the Windows 11 taskbar

Microsoft has finally re-added a link to the Task Manager to the taskbar’s contextual menu in the latest Windows 11 Insider preview build. This feature has been a popular entry on the list of user requests since Windows 11 was released almost one year ago, on October 4, 2021. ...

View more: Microsoft finally adds a Task Manager link to the Windows 11 taskbar

Exquisitely thin membranes can slash energy spent refining crude oil into fuel and plastic

Exploring the evolutionary benefits of bone weight

Flaring allows more methane into the atmosphere than we thought

James Webb telescope captures mind-blowing image of a spiral galaxy’s ‘skeleton’

Report calls for Indigenous Peoples' knowledge to be included in climate policy

Pumpkin farms adapt to improve soil, lower emissions

Improving wearable medical sensors with ultrathin mesh

Apple might let you test iPhone 14 satellite connectivity

Study identifies hundreds of hospitals on Atlantic and Gulf Coasts at risk of flooding from hurricanes

New figures show population boom near globe's vulnerable coral reefs

Poland blames toxic algae for Oder river fish kill

Almost 60% of secondary school students in public schools can identify fake news

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News