iAsk: How did he transit to Venture Capital?
Later, Xu Xiaoping and Wang Qiang ventured again for the setup of Zhenfund. While Yu Minhong chose to join hands with another person to create the Angel Plus Fund(Chinese: HongTai Fund). These two are quite complementary to each other. Yu Minhong exhibits a sense of literati atmosphere while the other one is a famous figure in investment banking. This famous figure is Sheng Xitai, the former young marshal in securities. Hence, brother Hong and brother Tai joined together in the Angel Plus Fund.
Behind the 30% Dark Glasses
The first timeiAsk Media had Sheng Xitaion interview was in 2014, when the Angel Plus Fund was founded, Gloria Ai interviewed him, he was a bit of hard-edged. Now, in an exclusive interview with Sheng, he was wearing a 30% dark glasses, which he said could help to avoid some of the sharp eyes. Then he began to tell the story of his life.
In the early 1990s, those who went to Shenzhen were not necessarily the most capable people in China, but they were a group of restless people. This restlessness gave the city unlimited opportunities.
At that time, Sheng Xitai, without a penny to his name then, was one of the these restless people. Passion and ambition were interweaved with each other, beating the young heart.
In 1992, Shen Xitai who was about to graduate from the graduate program in Accounting from Nankai University, came to Shenzhen and gradually blended into the big time. By joining the popular Junan Securities and serving as deputy general manager in Investment Banking Department, he set foot in the development wave of China’s capital market. Sheng Xitai worked so hard. The goal that the boss has set for him was never enough for him. He would never stop unless he achieved a 100% perfect job. And He never said no to any tasks the boss assigned to him. In this way, Sheng Xitai, with outstanding performance, rose up among the brokers and caught the glory of the era.
Starting from Junan Securities Sheng Xitai successively served as an executive in Shandong Securities and United Securities. Serving as the Chairman of Huatai United Securities witnessed the peak of his career development, where he spent only one year’s time to overturned Huatai United Securities’ three straight years of losses.
But in 2012, at the height of his career, Sheng Xitai chose to retreat from his glorious identities fromHuatai United Securities and Investment Banking.
He said there's no more passion in this increasingly traditional industry, and it became more difficult to see the future. Where is the future? This is a question which ShengXitai searched and learned to adapt for a long time.
"That is me. I quit when I don’t want to do something anymore. I leave if I am bored. The first three months after I quit, I had an extremely good time. But three months later, I found myself a total fool. People cannot go along without their own career platform.” He told iAskMedia. Then he said he chose to go to Canada to study and take care of his family.
Stage a Comeback
One morning in 2013, Sheng Xitai invited people to have breakfast in the dining hall of China World Hotel. In the crowd, a young man named Jiang Hua stood up and said, "Mr. Sheng, can I talk to you for a moment?" At the window, he chatted with the young man for 20 minutes. Opportunity often comes from an unintentional occasion, and this unintentional 20 minutes became his most important turning point. The next day, he invested three million to this young man. Three months later, the project called Kunlun Fight was valued at 300 million Yuan. And now, this project is enough to afford him for a life. "Actually, this project cannot be regarded as a real angel investment, because I didn't know what angel investment was." Roses are given to others, fragrance is left in your hand.
He never thought that the thing he thought insane brought him pleasure later. Yes, he fell in love with angel investment.
The Story of the Wine
There are quite a few stories between Sheng Xitai and his neighbor in Vancouver, Canada. "I take wines from his house, he takes wines from my house, it is normal. We spend the Spring Festival together. Our children go to the same school." This neighbor is named Yu Minhong, with whom Sheng was not intimate at first.
But one time, Yu Minhong was entertaining very important guests at his home. And when they were having an exciting conversation, his wine ran out. He called Sheng Xitai for two bottles of Maotai. When the doorbell rang, Sheng Xitai was saw with a box of Maotai.
This allowed Yu Minhong to decide that this man could be a potential partner, and the two became closer and closer. It was not until November 2014 that after a long period of preparation, Sheng Xitai and Yu Minhong established Angel Plus Fund. From then on, brother Hong and Tai started their new career.
HongTai invested 63 projects in its first year of 2015, invested 38 projects in 2016, and invested 48 projects in 2017. Among them were the popular Rage Comic, Galaxy Mutual Entertainment, 51 Credit Card, Tendrillion and so on.
In HongTai's strategic layout, Sheng Xitai said his strategy was like playing golf – move briskly and play slowly. You must move quickly between the two holes, and when you reach the next hill, you must be calm and quiet, adjust your posture, and hit the ball with full force.
"But as long as I hit, I make a surprise win."
iAsk ·Quick Q&A with Sheng Xitai
Gloria Ai: You are called Brother Tai, what if we change a name? Why do you have to deliberately create this image?
Sheng Xitai: the success of the past can't be put on the shelf or hung on the wall, and you behave like a greasy middle-aged man, you will be ruined in that way. I am completely integrated with the young people. There is no estrangement. I never think they are younger than me.
Gloria Ai: Back in 2014, why did you choose to set up Angel Plus Fund with the more famous Brother Hong?
Sheng Xitai: I have reached to the top in the investment banking. Anyone who stays long enough in investment securities should know me. Let me boast for myself, if anyone in investment Banking doesn’t know me, it must be that he hasn’t got enough qualifications. The establishment of Angel Plus Fund is an inevitable trend of the time. The most innovative and promising enterprises in China must be created by young people. Investing in them has indeed provided me and Brother Hong a new platform for greater achievement and career.
Gloria Ai: if you categorize the projects invested by HongTai, which are making profits, and which are losing?
Sheng Xitai: let me give you an example, the project Werewolves Within alone has paid me back all my investment. Some people say that the projects HongTaiinvested in the early stage are just so so. I would say there is no fairy in this industry.
Gloria Ai: Is it true that you have the opposite personality and management style? I've always thought you were particularly strong. What about your personality in team management?
Sheng Xitai: I am inclusive to all types of people (in management). In my team, there are people who have never been to college; there are graduates from Yale or Imperial College; there are both academia and practical persons. Everyone is having a good time and is able to play their part. I respect everyone's opinion. I believe that there must be a reason for one to stick to a project or not.
Gloria Ai: you only entered the investment circle in 2014. As a person born in 1970s, why do you do better than those born in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s?
Sheng Xitai: it's a strange circle. Many people have no management experience. I have more than a decade of experience in managing companies of 20,000 people, but I don't have any entrepreneurial experience, but I can casually talk with other people for 10 hours, and this is where it sounds weird.
Why does this logic work? Because I have a life experience, and the entrepreneurship to a large extent requires the mental guidance and psychological counseling, which is the important work of all investors. After talking to many successful entrepreneurs, I learned that the logic of human growth and company development is consistent. In the early investments, this insight must be the experience that others don’t have.
Gloria Ai: you are a new comer in this field, so you have to use different methods to rock the boat?
Sheng Xitai: I am not rocking the boat. There's no area that likes newcomers.
Gloria Ai: then what you will do about it?
Sheng Xitai: we are new here, we started in high profile at the beginning, but it is not our intention, since the partnership between Yu Minhong and myself has a very strong news effect in itself.
Gloria Ai: do you have a vision?
Sheng Xitai: let me tell you about HongTai's vision. It's very real. 10 words "innovation promoter, cross-boundary integrator". HongTai has three things to do.
Firstly, HongTai capital holdings will incubate several listed companies. Stock price of the listed companies is one of mankind's greatest inventions. Investors like us all believe ourselves are the most civilized group of people, who throw the company away after earning management fees at the low-end. We normally couldn’t earn the stock price at the top. What I want to pursue is to stay and eat at the top of the food chain. Secondly, the best part of investment and the most attractive and fascinating part of investment is to fulfill a group people’s dreams by investing in them. Thirdly, to become a cross - boundary integrator, to influence at least one or two industries. The final goal is to fulfill ourselves in the process of fulfilling others.
Gloria Ai: how will you realize your vision?
Sheng Xitai: In the three years’ development up to now, Angel Plus Fund’s businesses have go beyond angel investment, we are also focusing on VC, PE, mergers and acquisitions and the full life cycle of investment. At the same time, our investment layout also includes entrepreneurial ecologies like Angel Plus Labs, HongTai Wealth, AA Accelerator, Hong Three Board, making it officially upgraded to HongTai Capital Holdings. At present, HongTai Capital controls more than 10 billion funds, the future management of the capital will be larger. Our strategy can be summarized with three circles. I will explain to you the three circles. The investment circle includes angel investment, VC, PE, mergers and acquisitions. The ecological circle refers to flow and entrance. The retreat circle might be a financial circle. But the investment circle is always the core.