VC Corner Q+A with Edith Yeung

Selected by Inc. Magazine as one of the Silicon Valley investors you must know, Edith is the head of 500 Startups Greater China and leads the blockchain accelerator program.

She has invested in over 50 blockchain, mobile, AI startups including Lightyear/Stellar, Nebulas, The Republic, Metadium, Solana, Libra Network, Hooked, DayDayCook, AISense, Castbox, Silk Labs (acquired by Apple), Chirp (acquired by Apple), Fleksy (acquired by Pinterest), Human (acquired by Mapbox) and many more.

Before 500, Edith ran marketing for Dolphin Browser, a Sequoia-backed mobile browser with over 150 million installs worldwide. Edith also worked with many Fortune 500 companies such as Siebel, AMS, AT&T Wireless and Autodesk.

Please enjoy this week’s VC Q+A with Edith Yeung.


What is your fund's mission?

500’s mission is to discover and back the world’s most talented entrepreneurs, help them create successful companies at scale, and build thriving global ecosystems. I particularly focus on China - US cross-border investments. I love helping Chinese companies to build a global brand. It's just my thing :)

What is one thing you are excited about right now?

Blockchain - I am excited to see so many amazing Chinese blockchain founders with huge ambition and drive. Unlike any other verticals, you can be a global blockchain brand from Day 1.

Who is one founder you think we should watch?

Prerna Gupta, Founder & CEO of Hooked

What is one question you ask yourself before investing in a company?

Why this person?

What is one thing every founder should ask themselves before walking into a meeting with a potential investor?

I don't have just one thing. I actually have 7. Check out my presentation on 7 Pitching Habits for Highly Effective Startups:

Habit 1 – Pitch to the Right Investors

Habit 2 – Pitch with Purpose

Habit 3 – Pitch Your Story

Habit 4 – Pitch Like a Pro

Habit 5 – Understand the Big Picture

Habit 6 – Always Follow Up

Habit 7 – Show Passion & Honesty

Favorite business book, blog, podcast?

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?

Watching videos of Warren Buffett and laughing at his jokes.

What is one piece of advice you’d give every founder?

Stay true to yourself and your team. Admit what you are great at and what you suck at. Build a team that can truly trust and enjoy working with each other.  

When did you close your current fund?


What do you think should be in a CEO's top 3 company priorities?

1) Cultivate a strong culture for your company

2) Growth - focus on existing growth metrics but also keep an eye on new business models and longer term potential.

3) Understand the bigger picture and industry as a whole. Have a clear picture what his or her own company position versus others.

What and when was your very first investment? What struck you about them?

My first investment was Fleksy - smartphone keyboard (acquired by Pinterest) in 2011 (Time flies!)

Who is one leader you admire?

Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba

What are the top 3 qualities of every great leader?  

1) Strategic Thinking

2) Empathy

3) Communication & Persuasion

Anything else?

Always look forward. No matter how much (time, energy or money) you have already invested, only your assessment of the future costs and benefits counts.