Zeng Liqing, co-founder and former COO of Tencent, became a super angel investor and founded an investment company, DecentCapital, after leaving Tencent in 2007. So it’s not a coincidence that a considerable number of startups he and his company have invested in are founded by Tencent alumni and gaming companies. Mr. Zeng once said he only invested in “projects founded by former Tencent employees or recommended by friends.” (in Chinese)
Although Tencent is most known for QQ, the most popular IM service in China, a majority of its revenues have been from online games and game-related subscriptions. It’s no wonder many Tencent employees know one thing or two about online games. Among the dozens of startups that have received funding from DecentCapital, more than half offer online/mobile games or game-related services.
Taomee is a typical case and one of the most known. The social network for children was founded by former Tencent exec Wang Haibing. It’s operating a couple of popular online games for children, such as Mole and Seer. Taomee went publich on the NYSE in mid-2011.
ATTA is also typical: it’s founded by former senior developers of Tencent’s game development team and focusing on mobile games. The company has developed a 3D MMORPG mobile game, FANTASY, and will officially launch next month.
Mr. Zeng and his team had already invested in a couple of startups in Chengdu, a new heaven for Chinese startups as we introduced in this post. Before ATTA, it was another Chengdu-based game and app developer, Meet Studio. Previously Mr. Zeng and his team were focusing on Shenzhen, where both Tencent and DecentCapital are headquartered.
Other startups of DecentCapital’s portfolio covers online travel, online education, digital marketing and other sectors.