New name signals expanded partnership and capabilities, same commitment to deep tech roots and early-stage immigrant entrepreneurship
LOS ALTOS, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–August 4, 2021–
Tsingyuan Ventures, one of Silicon Valley’s most active seed-stage investors focused on deep tech, has closed an oversubscribed $100M fund, beyond its $70M target. Simultaneously, the fund is rebranding and will operate as Foothill Ventures going forward.
The Tsingyuan Ventures partnership team is largely alumni of TEEC Angel Fund, which made seed-round investments in six unicorns during their tenure, including Zoom Video, Quanergy, Ginkgo Bioworks, Carta, Iterable, and Plus. After forming Tsingyuan Ventures in 2017, the trend continued, with a seventh unicorn, WeRide, and several others approaching that distinguished benchmark.
“We want every one of our investments ultimately to reach a mountaintop, but that begins with the first phase of the climb, the seed funding,” said Managing Partner Jinlin Wang. “Our previous brand, Tsingyuan Ventures, was a reference to the fact that our partnership was founded by a group of graduates from China’s legendary Tsinghua University, often called China’s MIT. A major area of differentiation for our firm was investing in the huge talent pool of Chinese engineers in the United States. We have had great success with this approach – investing in seven seed-stage unicorns, five of which were founded by engineers who had emigrated from China.”
Explaining the rationale behind the name change, Wang continued, “However, as we have grown, our partnership and capabilities have expanded. Many of our successful investments don’t have a China connection. They still usually have technical founders, and usually immigrant founders, especially from India, but also from Israel, Romania, Russia, and elsewhere. We realized that what we’ve learned by helping technical founders from China become successful is generally applicable to a wider group of founders. As a result, we have changed our name to Foothill Ventures, where the metaphorical journey to success begins.”
Foothill Ventures will continue the approach that has led to today’s success: a focus on seed-stage investments in technical, usually immigrant founders and their businesses. The team is well matched to this approach, with a majority of partners being immigrants themselves, holding PhDs in fields ranging from computer science to materials science to oncology. The increase in resources means an evolved strategy that may include writing larger checks at the seed stage, establishing greater ownership earlier, and expanding the firm’s focus to a broader set of entrepreneurial backgrounds.
Jonathan Roosevelt, Managing Director at $5B Industry Ventures, commented, “Through our hybrid fund of funds product, we are investors in over 90 funds, including Tsingyuan Ventures. The team’s ability to discover, with due diligence, and support highly technical founders really stands out, and has resulted in exceptional returns – which led to a dramatic oversubscription of this fund raise. We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the rebranded and extraordinary Foothill Ventures team.”
Rob Devlin, CEO of “lens on a chip” startup Metalenz added, “We have had Tsingyuan Ventures as our investor since our pre-seed round. Even though we have no direct link to China, there was an excellent fit due to the highly technical nature of our product. Tsingyuan was one of the few VCs who could immediately see the potential of Metalenz because of their vast experience turning scientists into entrepreneurs. They were able to provide critical guidance and support at every step of the way. We’re excited to see the team continue to evolve as Foothill Ventures.”
About Foothill Ventures, formerly known as Tsingyuan Ventures
Foothill Ventures is a $200M AUM American venture capital firm, based in Los Altos, California. With a portfolio that spans software, life sciences and deep tech, Foothill recognizes technical differentiation as a major competitive advantage. The firm focuses on seed-stage projects from technical founders in North America.
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