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Irving Kau has joined Elementz Ventures as a Managing Partner offering his key strengths of fund management, investor relations, research, and leadership to the partnership. Irving brings his extensive experience in both global public investment and global private investment with access to North American and Asia-Pacific-based outlets. During his career, he has worked on the buy-side/investor, sell-side/advisor, and corporate side. Over his career, he has successfully completed over $100M in investments for 15+ companies and taken 8 companies public onto NASDAQ. He is a detail-oriented, global leader focusing himself on follow-through, execution, and task completion. He deeply values character and ‘doing the right thing’ in each and every circumstance despite any potential short-term effects.  Irving is also a Managing Director of KW Capital Partners, a private equity group focusing on pre-IPO investment in N. America that brings innovative and technology companies to a public NASDAQ-listing.  Based on its unique niche, expertise in growth industry sectors and capital markets, KW routinely returns an average ROI between 50-90%. 

Previously Irving was head of Asia Office for GHS (now Seaport Global), a full service investment bank.  He founded and developed the Asia team execution and strategies sourcing deals globally.  He was CFO for Asia market Ag leader Origin Agritech Limited (NASDAQ:SEED). During his tenure of over seven years, while based in Beijing, Origin averaged a forward PE ratio over 35x and possessed an average daily volume of over 1.5M shares (over RMB6.6B market cap, top 25 international NASDAQ company in 2010)  with a roster of many blue-chip investors including Fidelity, Wellington, Citadel, Baron, Heartland and MUFJ. With a background both in finance and science, while publishing several peer-reviewed academic papers, he has the ability to understand the technical aspects of financial, management, and advisory work within many natural science industries. 

He holds an MBA from Rice University in Finance & Strategy and has studied for his Ph.D. at USC in Business Strategy. He also holds FINRA Series 7, 86 & 87 licenses. Irving lives in Irvine CA along with his wife, Linda is and three amazing teenage children.

These are trying times and they certainly are if you are a startup or a Venture Capital fund like us at Elementz Ventures. Due to the pandemic, venture capital is in major state of change –  the boon of the last several years where we have seen record-breaking VC investments of over $100B in the US for the past two years is gone. We are now in a wait-and-see stage which means there is so much uncertainty about what will happen in the future. So what does the future look like for VC? Let’s consider the short-term, medium-term and long-term outlooks for VC investment.

In the short-term we see that the venture funds that have already raised and invested are spending a lot of time with their portfolio companies helping them to weather the current storm. Their advice to start-ups is to do whatever it takes to survive which means all unnecessary expenses and making sure they can take advantage of the various government loans/grants available to them. For funds currently raising like us, we are in a holding pattern as most LP’s are taking advantage of the public market uncertainty before returning to alternatives after things stabilize. The current climate looks like things would pick up again in the 3rd Qtr for raising.

In the medium term, most funds need to be opportunistic and take advantage of the sectors that are hot right now. According to a recent NYTimes these sectors include, “telemedicine, food delivery, online learning, remote work, gaming — are thriving amid the quarantines.”  For funds with startups within these sectors, they should consider doubling down where it makes sense in order to both support their growth and leverage their returns. A partner fund of Elementz Ventures is doing just that with further investment into three of their portfolio startups in EdTech and Bio. 

In the long-term Venture funds need to be rethinking their strategy for investment. As we look at the future after this pandemic, we need to develop a strategy that accounts for the types of companies that would grow. And in turn we also need to look at what sectors and types of startups  would not be a good investment for a venture fund. 

Here at Elementz Ventures,  we focus on SaaS startups and we are evaluating startups that would come out of this pandemic with a strong  product-market fit as well as solid growth potential. Choosing the right deal flow is as much about science as well as intuition and these are the factors we will consider in order to make Elementz Ventures a successful fund.