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The Yale Venture Club in an office lobby

A Venture Capital Exploration of China

Since 2021, the Yale Venture Club has connected students and alumni across the Yale campus with an interest in entrepreneurship and investing in China. Last summer, the group organized its first multi-city trek there, visiting startups and investors in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen. Co-founder Melissa Lu ’22 looks back.

In its commitment to academic exploration and real-world engagement, the Yale Venture Club (YVC) embarked on an exciting journey during the summer of 2023 with the City Trek in China. This summer trek was meticulously organized by a dedicated team of YVC members representing various schools at Yale: Jingfei He (School of Architecture), Lucas Lu (SOM), Melissa Lu (SOM), Dorothy Wu (GSAS), and Linda Lin (SOM). This marked the inaugural execution of the annual in-person event, designed to connect students with venture capital and entrepreneurial opportunities in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenzhen. Over one to three in each city, the trek offered participants valuable networking opportunities, the chance to submit résumés, and direct engagement with potential employers.

Founded in November 2021, the Yale Venture Club stands as Yale University’s first Chinese entrepreneurial and investment community. Boasting over 90 active members, the club comprises undergraduates, master’s students, MBA candidates, PhD scholars, faculty, and alumni. The diverse backgrounds of its members, including successful entrepreneurs, industry experts, and venture capital/private equity professionals, contribute to the club’s vibrant and multidimensional community.

Through in-depth discussions with renowned investors, attendees deepened their understanding of core investment logics in fields such as technology, consumer goods, healthcare, and cryptocurrency. The exploration also extended to trending investment tracks, unveiling insights into interdisciplinary innovation.

The journey kicked off in mid-July with the initial stop in Beijing, where participants actively engaged with nine prominent investment institutions and cutting-edge media services in the VC sector. Notable institutions on the agenda included Free Fund, Sequoia China, K2VC, Unity Ventures, Atlas Capital Group, ZhenFund, 36Kr, Northern Light Venture Capital, and Source Code Capital. This segment in Beijing provided an invaluable insider’s perspective, allowing participants to gain profound insights into the latest developments and emerging trends within the venture capital landscape.

In Shanghai, the itinerary featured both startups and top VC investment institutions with diverse investment preferences, spanning consumer goods, cutting-edge technology, Web3, and healthcare. Visits were made to prominent organizations such as BuidlerDao, Moody, BAI Capital, Tezign, HashKey, Linear Capital, Vland, Qiming Venture Partners, among others. Participants seized the opportunity to glean insights from both industry leaders and innovative startups, fostering a collaborative environment conducive to knowledge exchange and networking.

The concluding segment of the YVC Summer City Trek took participants to Shenzhen, positioned as the central hub of the Greater Bay Area in China. The emphasis in this phase centered on cross-border expansion and deep technology, providing attendees with profound insights into advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, financial technology, and healthcare. The visited companies encompassed startups showcasing the intersectionality of technology and emerging consumer trends, such as 3D printing, educational projectors, high-tech fitness equipment, pet accessories, and more.

Students touring a high-tech facility
Students at Sequoia Capital

In each city, the YVC Summer City Trek facilitated an open and dynamic exchange of ideas, creating an atmosphere conducive to learning and collaboration. The warm reception from institutions and companies alike exemplified the enthusiasm for sharing industry insights, strategic considerations, and entrepreneurial experiences with the YVC Summer City Trek members.

The inaugural YVC Summer City Trek stands as a testament to the club’s commitment to fostering a bridge between academic excellence and real-world innovation. As participants reflect on the knowledge gained, friendships forged, and experiences shared, the YVC looks forward to future iterations of this transformative venture capital exploration. The success of the Summer City Trek underscores the YVC’s role as a catalyst for entrepreneurial growth within the Yale School of Management community.

In 2024, we will continue the tradition of organizing the YVC Summer City Trek. Interested students are encouraged to contact for further information.