TechNode’s founder Gang Lu took to the stage at TechCrunch Shanghai last week to interview Discuz!’s founder Kevin Day on his experience in transforming from an entrepreneur to an angel investor.
Day founded a BBS platform Discuz! in 2001 and gradually dipped toes into venture capital industry after making money from the business. Day is the angle investor of Boyaa, a game developer just listed on Hong Kong Stock Exchange recently, and Tianjin Hemu, which was acquired by an A-share company for $2 million.
Different from most venture capitalists with financial backgrounds, Day’s investment philosophy is guided by practical experiences as an entrepreneur. He thinks both paths can lead to a good investor.
Day choose to be an angle investor rather than venture capitalist, because he thinks there are there are too little, rather than too many entrepreneurs in China as compared with Silicon Valley or other countries. For those who don’t know their potentials, early-stage investors can inspire them as a tutor and help them to make the first steps. He finds the process of helping startups to grow up a fascinating idea and often provides insightful suggestions to startups by drawing upon his entrepreneurial experiences.
Day cited the case of Boyaa as an example when being asked about how to decide whether one person have the potentials of entrepreneur. Zhang Wei, CEO of Boyaa, stuck to the wrong development direction for seven years and the company experienced ups and downs during the period. Zhang has commitment to the prospects and will for business growth, the only thing he lacked is the right direction, and that’s where angel investor should step in to give advices based on their wider vision and insights on industry trends.
The characteristics he valued most in startup companies are abilities to learn from failures, clear goals, innovation, will for success and sense of commitment.
Day said his investment philosophy is refraining from following the so called hot topics but to find the projects that have true values.
Tencent acquired Comsenz, operator of Discuz!, in 2010 and Day became the head of Tencent’s lifestyle e-commerce division. His team released WeChat membership card in mid-2012, a loyalty program for users to subscribe to merchants’ WeChat accounts and for businesses to do CRM.
WeChat membership card is affiliated to WeChat service accounts and public accounts, parallel to WeChat payment function. It is not closely related to the payment function to avoid operational problems, disclosed Day in backstage interview.