When deciding whether to invest in an early stage startup, venture capitalists look for specific qualities in a founder and team.
In his more than a decade working in venture capital, iFly founding partner Han Shen can spot a founder worth investing in, and, as a result, he has advice for hooking investors. Shen invested in successes like Oculus, which was founded in 2012 to create a virtual reality headset. Oculus was acquired by Facebook in 2014 for $2 billion. Shen has also served on the board of SayWeee!, the largest and fastest-growing ethnic e-grocer in North America. It closed its Series E round of funding at a valuation of $4.1 billion.
More than six years ago, Shen launched iFly, a micro-VC firm, which prides itself in backing founders and early stage startups who “address the unglamorous, underserved, and under-appreciated demands.” On Nov. 10, Shen will host a webinar for Founders Network members where he will discuss what he’s learned about investing in early-stage startups.
About the speaker:
Han Shen is the Founding Partner of iFly.vc. Han’s career in venture capital started in 2009 and has spanned at VantagePoint and Formation 8, where he was the first hire on the investment team. He led and/or contributed to the investment in Oculus (acquired by Facebook), Fyusion (acquired by Cox), AlertMe (acquired by British Gas), Comfy (acquired by Siemens), Lucid (acquired by Acuity), Motive Drilling (acquired by Helmerich & Payne), and Taxon (acquired by DuPont). Han has served on the board of multiple portfolio companies including SayWeee!, the largest and fastest-growing ethnic e-grocer in North America. (The company closed the Series E round at the valuation of $4.1bn; iFly.vc remained the second-largest shareholder.) Earlier in his career, Han worked for Rohm and Haas Company, the largest US specialty chemical company (acquired by Dow Chemical for over $32 billion), where he was credited as a key inventor of four US patents.
Han earned his bachelor’s degree from Nanjing University, Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, and MBA from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania. In addition, Han holds a private pilot license issued by the US FAA and was the Dignitary Champion of International Cherry Pit Spitting Competition in 2002.
iFly.vc embraces investment opportunities in spaces that may appear unglamorous but carry tremendous growth potential. It focuses on technology-enabled transformation across the value chain of traditional industries to address underserved and underappreciated demand. iFly Fund I’s performance is ranked the top-1% among all 2016 vintage VC funds in the US, according to Private Investment Benchmarks by Cambridge Associates. iFly currently manages a total AUM of $110m.
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About Founders Network:
Founded in 2011, Founders Network offers lifelong peer mentorship to over 600 tech startup founders globally. Our platform, programs and high-touch service facilitate authentic experience sharing, warm introductions and long-term professional relationships. Additional benefits include over $500k in startup discounts and promotion to 2,000 newsletter readers. Members are located in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, London and other tech hubs. Each month our Membership Committee admits a new cohort of full-time tech founders who are nominated by an existing member. Learn more about us here