A pioneer in Hong Kong’s venture-capital industry and a driving force behind the development of local start-ups, Dr Gordon Yen, Founding Managing Partner of Radiant Tech Ventures, has been exploring new frontiers for the past seven years.

12 August 2021
Zeek constantly pushes back the frontiers of logistics and its recent launch of a one-hour express delivery service in collaboration with a major e-commerce platform is a fine example. Supporting the local smart logistics start-up are Radiant Tech Ventures and Chinachem Group – Zeek’s great advocates and early stage investors. In a conversation with Donald Choi, Executive Director and CEO of Chinachem Group, the Founding Managing Partner of Radiant Tech Ventures, Dr Gordon Yen, talks about how his venture capital business started and outlines his investment experience in supporting start-ups.
Donald Choi (right), Executive Director and CEO of Chinachem Group interviewed Dr Gordon Yen, Founding Managing Partner of Radiant Tech Ventures

Where the story began

 

The establishment of a venture capital fund, Dr Yen recalls, was somewhat fortuitous: “I got my bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering in the US and master’s degree in business administration in Canada. After returning to Hong Kong, I worked in traditional fields like infrastructure and manufacturing,” he says. “In 2000, I encountered an opportunity to represent the company that I was working for in managing an early stage technology investment in a supply chain digitisation start-up from the US. Through that project, I got to know co-investors from the venture-capital industry who sparked my interest in that field.”

The beginning of the new millennium was a period when industrial transformation and upgrading became a major trend. At that time, Dr Yen had opportunities to work with local research institutes and universities, and he realised then the high quality of scientific talents that were in Hong Kong. There were still some drawbacks: although the foundation of local research was solid, Hong Kong was lagging behind Europe and the US in terms of commercialisation of technologies. Dr Yen, understanding the crucial role venture capital plays in commercialising an innovation and seeing an unmet need in the local market, launched the first Radiant venture fund in 2014.

“The tech bubble burst in 2000 and eroded investor confidence, but not the inherent value in technology,” he explains. “Innovation has always had its value in Hong Kong, as reflected by the market. This has been especially so in recent years. With a push by the government and industry, technology is back on investors’ lists once again and the scene will surely flourish even more with the Greater Bay Area initiative in play.”

The first thing is to understand what value it can bring to its users. Next it’s how big their target market is, and their strategy – or what advantage they have – to gain market share . Finally, it’s the background and the roles their team members play.

Dr Gordon Yen
Founding Managing Partner of Radiant Tech Ventures

Chinachem Group also provides start-ups with opportunities to put ideas into action, offering pertinent advice and guiding them through the process like a mentor. This helps start-up businesses move in the right direction.

Donald Choi
Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer
Chinachem Group

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