​iAsk x China Daily | What determines a VC will be long-lasting?

本文章刊登在CHINA DAILY-艾问专栏

中国日报

18岁,倪正东收到的第一份“成年礼”是——“挫折”。这年夏天,他因高考志愿填报不当而与理想的清华大学失之交臂。

At the age of 18, Gavin (Zhengdong) Ni faced his first major setback in life. He failed to be admitted to Tsinghua university because he filled in the application form inappropriately, despite getting a high score for the university entrance exam.

但是入学第一天,他就在心里打定主意:四年后报考清华大学研究生。于是接下来的四年,他都算得上大学里最勤奋的学生。

So starting from the first day in college, he was determined to get into Tsinghua for grad school.In the following four years, he was the most diligent student.

四年后,倪正东如愿进入清华。之后,倪正东便一门心思想出国深造,泡脚时都在读英文报纸。

Four years later, Gavin Ni got into his dream school – Tsinghua University. Subsequently, he wished to study abroad, and was reading English newspapers even while taking a bath.

有次,报纸上登载麻省理工学院开展创业大赛的新闻,奖金高达五万美金,他看到以后念念不忘,萌生了一个念头,“清华不仅是工程师和科学家的摇篮,还要成为企业家的摇篮!”

Once, he was impressed by a piece of news he read about an entrepreneurship competition at MIT with the prize as high as 50.000 dollars. A thought came to him: Tsinghua shouldn’t just be an incubator for engineers and scientists, but also for entrepreneurs!

于是,他和几个同学在清华成立了创业者协会,开始邀请王志东、张朝阳、丁磊等一批成功的企业家演讲。

He then founded an entrepreneurship student association with a few fellow students, and invited successful entrepreneurs such as Wang Zhidong, Zhang Chaoyang, Ding Lei to give talks.

当时清华乃至全国,尚无学生创业先例。

At that time, there were no student entrepreneurs in Tsinghua or entire China.

虽然倪正东曾说,“当时清华科技者创业协会,现在最有出息的人不是我,而是当年的一个新生——美团的创始人,王兴。”但是他带领创业协会策划的第一届大学生创业计划大赛不仅成为了亚洲第一个创业者计划大赛,还吸引了上百个创业团队参加。

Although Gavin Ni used to say, “The most successful person coming out of the Association of Student Entrepreneurs at Tsinghua was not me, but a freshman – Wang Xing, the founder of Meituan.” Under his leadership, the association hosted the first student entrepreneurship business plan competition, which became the first of such contest in Asia, attracted hundreds of teams to join.

那时,清华最流行的词语就是“创业”和“开网站”。

At that time, the most popular words at Tsinghua was “entrepreneurship” and “making a website”.

而这也为倪正东的创业打下了基础。从那时起倪正东就一直跟年轻的创业者、企业家、投资者们保持很好的交流和沟通。

These experiences also laid the foundation for Gavin Ni’s own founding journey. Since then, he was interacting closely with young entrepreneurs and investors, and made a name for himself.

1999年开始,当中国创投业翻开了外资创投主打的新篇章时候,倪正东也凭借着当时的名气,号召校友、海外投资银行家,共同创办了北京清科信息咨询有限公司。

In 1999, when foreign VCs were coming into China’s venture world, Gavin Ni’s name and reputation helped him to gather a few alumni and oversea investment bankers to co-found Zero2IPO Group.

19年后,清科集团已成长为中国领先的创业与投资综合服务平台及投资机构,不仅拥有清科创业、清科投资、清科资本和清科空间四大业务板块,还打造了私募通、投资界、新芽、沙丘学院、项目工场和财富街六大互联网平台。

19 years later, Zero2IPO has grown to be China’s leading service platform and investment organization for venture andinvestment. Zero2IPO not only has four business units – venture services, asset management, financial advisory, and innovation space, it also has six internet platforms and products – PEdaily.cn, PEdata.cn, project factory, Newseed, Sandhill college, and PEstreet.cn.

如果说以前清科是一个“杂货店”的话,那么现在则俨然已是风投界的“百货商场”了,不过在倪正东心中,清科依旧是投资界的“店小二”、“服务员”。

To give an analogy, Zero2IPO started off as the “convenient shop” for the venture capital industry and now, it has grown to be the “department store”. However, for Gavin Ni, Zero2IPO is still a “waiter” providing services for the investment industry.

艾诚、倪正东

倪正东目前参与投资和帮助融资的企业超过100家,直接投资的企业包括奇虎360、博纳影视、麦考林、百分通联、56网、海报网、天涯社区、梦芭莎、三夫户外、爱康国宾等众多明星项目,成为中国创业投资界青年一代的代表人物。

So far, Gavin Ni helped financed and invested in more than 100 startups. He is the representative of the younger generation of China’s venture capital industry. Some featured companies he invested include Qihoo 360, Bona Film, Mecoxlane, 51welink, 56.com, haibao.com, tianya.cn, moonbasa, Sanfo Outdoor, and iKang healthcare.

他见过了万众创业、资本涌动的繁荣景象,也见过了募资艰难、监管趋紧的资本寒冬,从元年到拐点,倪正东和清科见证了中国创投行业的一步步成长。

He has seen both the prosperous times with booming startup scenes and huge capital flows into this market, as well as the downtimes when financing gets difficult with tightening regulations. From the starting point to the turning point, Gavin Ni and Zero2IPO have witnessed the growth of China’s venture capital industry step by step.

“当初我的理想并不丰满,但这个时代却创造了如此巨大的机会和潜力,这个市场实在太肥”。

“In the beginning, I did not have very big dreams, but this era has brought such great opportunities and so much potential, this market is just so lubricious.”

本期艾问顶级人物,艾问创始人艾诚对话清科集团董事长倪正东,解析中国创投行业二十年的变化与延续。

This issue of iAsk Media, Gloria Ai is having a conversation with Gavin Ni, CEO of Zero2IPO, to analyze the changes and continuations of China’s venture capital industry.

分割线

艾诚:这19年走过来,哪些是中国投资圈一直没有变的?哪些是急速变化的?

Gloria Ai: Having been in China’s VC industry for the past 19 years, what are the things that remained unchanged, and what are the most rapid changes?

倪正东:其实这20年下来,不变的东西是大家还是有使命感,还是特别爱国,爱自己的国家,还有好奇心,我们这帮人都还有好奇心,不变的是我们这些年轻人,不变的是我们支持一些从未成功的东西、从未成功的人、从未成功的公司,不变的是我们还跟当年一样热情洋溢、拼命三郎。大家的这种心态是不变的。

Gavin Ni: For the past 20 years, what remained unchanged are a sense of mission, patriotism and the love for our country. Our curiosity remains, we try to discover young talents. What also did not change is that we support things that were not successful, talents that were not successful, firms that were not successful. We are still as passionate as before and keep pushing hard. I think this state of mind remained unchanged.

艾诚:很多中国的企业不再拼利润、营收、用户,而是拼用多快的时间可以达到估值10亿美元以上。

Gloria Ai: Many Chinese firms are no longer competingon profits, revenues or number of users, but competing on how fast it takes toreach a billion dollar valuation.

其实不管是在中国还是全球,在资本快速发展的过程中俨然有很多的泡沫,您会不会担心泡沫甚嚣尘上,会导致大量的创投企业死亡?

Actually, no matter in China or around the world, during this fast capital development process, there appear to be lots of bubbles. Would you be worried that during this bubble period, many startups will die out?

倪正东:其实很多方面在美国发生的事情在中国也是会发生的,我2003年去美国见到美国的VC,2008年再见他们的时候,三分之二已经消失了,所以这个市场是非常残酷的。

Gavin Ni: Actually many things that happened in America will also happen in China. In 2003, I went to the US and visited many US VCs. When I tried to meet them again in 2008, two-thirds of them disappeared. So this market is very cruel.

艾诚:那是什么决定了创投机构基业常青或者失败离场?

Gloria Ai: Then what determines whether a VC will be long-lasting or fail?

倪正东:其实我觉得做投资机构,最重要的还是持续投资好的公司。你能募到钱,能投到好的公司,能做好管理,能退出,这是非常重要的。

Gavin Ni: The most important thing for an investment organization is to be able to continuously invest in good firms. You are able to raise capital, invest in good firms, manage things well, and make your exit.

这个行业不是靠嘴的,是靠投资案例的,你投了什么公司,占多少股权,赚了多少钱,非常非常明确,不要讲那些纸面上的东西,而是让投资人、出资人得到钱,这是最关键的。

These are very important. This industry is not about pitching, but it is based on successful investment cases. Which company did you invest in, how many shares do you have, how much did you earn, are all very clear. Do not talk about how much it is valued on paper, but how much money have your LP actually received. This is the most important.

一个投资机构不在于它今天怎么样,而是长期来看怎么样,我们这个都是以十年作为标准的。

So the success of an investment firm does not depend on how it is doing today, but how it is in the long-term. In our industry, we measure it over the course of 10 years.

艾诚:您曾经说过,投资的活儿是专业的活儿,投资界行业是要看人和看事的,在这个行业待的越久,越觉得人难以判断,为什么?

Gloria Ai: You used to say that investing is a professional thing, one needs to check out both the people and the business, and the longer one stays in this industry, the more it feels that people are hard to judge. Why is that?

倪正东:帮我们赚钱的公司,都是人投对了。09年投周鸿祎,其实我们也是闭着眼睛投的,你说对他的商业模式、财务报表、客户有多了解,其实并不是,就觉着周鸿祎是一杆枪,他能成功。

Gavin Ni: The companies that helped us to earn money were the ones which we invested in the right people. In 2009, when we invested in Zhou Hongyi,actually, it was based on a gut feeling. You say how much you understand his business model, his financial sheets or his clients, it is actually not like that. I just felt that Zhou Hongyi was a good shot, he can succeed.

京东当年的估值是5000万美元,没人愿意投刘强东。所以我觉得投资人比较大的一个困难,不是对事的判断,而是对人的判断。

JD was valued at 50 million dollars, and no one wanted to invest in him. So I feel what is hard for the investors is not to judge the business, but the people.

艾诚:有人说投资就是投国运,投资人对于宏观的经济、微观的企业都是非常敏感的,对于未来,您是更焦虑了还是更自信了?

Gloria Ai: Some say, investing is to invest in the future of a country. Investors are very sensitive to the macroeconomic situation and the micro-conditions on the company level. Facing the future, are you more anxious or more confident?

倪正东:今天我们都要感谢40年前的改革开放,如果没有改革开放,我们也不可能读书、读大学、创业、创投,我们40年取得了巨大的成就,全世界有目共睹。但未来是什么样的?今年我们都特别焦虑,特别特别焦虑。

Gavin Ni: We all have to thank “the reform and opening up” from 40 years ago. Without “the reform and opening up”, we would not be able to get an education, to go to college, to found a startup, or join a VC. We had huge achievements in the past 40 years, which are well-received around the world. But how the future will look like? We are all very anxious this year, very very anxious.

在北京,如果你一个人还好一点,如果几个兄弟在一块儿,每个人都说的是坏消息,大家都是负能量,大家坐一块儿其实很焦虑。

In Beijing, it is better if you are alone. When you gather with a few friends from the VC circle, everyone is talking about bad news, so everyone is full of negative energy, and people get more anxious when gathering together.

但雨天过后肯定是晴天,我相信我们投资界今年面临的这些焦虑,面临的这些挑战,不管是注册的问题、税收的问题、募资的问题,过了今年明年或许就不是问题了,所以我们要乐观一点。

But whatever it turns out, everything will be good eventually. So I believe that, all the worries, challenges we are facing in the VC circle this year, no matter about registrations, taxation, or fundraising, they won’t be aproblem next year. So we have to be optimistic.

—END—

艾诚、倪正东

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