SHANGHAI, Aug. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — NIO Capital celebrated its "Five and Beyond" fifth anniversary in Suzhou on August 5.
At the gathering, William Li, Ian Zhu and Nathan Yu, the firm’s managing partners, shared their experience, insights, and NIO Capital’s achievements over the past five years. Carl Guan, Li Yao, and Adair Lv, the investment firm’s managing directors, released NIO Capital 2022 Investment Outlook. This white paper focuses on investment opportunities in Automobiles and Logistics, Energy and Deep Technologies sectors in the next five to 10 years. Representatives from NIO Capital’s portfolio companies shared ideas on the industries they are involved in.
William Li, founder, chairman and CEO of NIO, and managing partner of NIO Capital, delivered the opening speech. As an investor and entrepreneur, Li has been involved in the automotive industry for many years. He gave his take on the industry and talked about starting a business from his own experience.
Li said the intelligent electric vehicle (EV) sector had entered a "speed-up" stage, behind which the core driving force is technological advancement. The automotive industry has reached the commanding height of scientific and technological innovations again, and it will create more opportunities for the Chinese market. He added that the sector is full of possibilities and will open up more chances for entrepreneurs. He also said while staying prudent, optimistic, and aggressive, NIO Capital will seize the opportunities with real actions rather than be caught in anxiety.
Ian Zhu, managing partner of NIO Capital, delivered a keynote speech titled "Equity Investments 3.0?More than Just Money".
He said that equity investment had entered a new era that requires a high-quality general partner (GP) to create multi-dimensional values for limited partners (LP) and portfolio companies. In the initial days, US dollar funds and financial institutional investors had a strong presence in China’s equity investment sector. The business landscape adopted the "Copy to China" model. Now in the new era, the country’s equity investment sector gives equal importance to US dollar funds and RMB funds and is more strategy- and industry-oriented. It now uses the "Copy from China" model.
As LPs vary, their demands focus not only on financial returns but also on multi-dimensional values. Since its inception, NIO Capital has been expanding its investment in an industry-oriented way. Meanwhile, the company offers its portfolio companies multi-dimensional support, with the vision "Invest in Innovations that Sustain and Advance Humankind".
Nathan Yu, managing partner of NIO Capital, spoke on the changes in the automotive industry over the past five years. He said the sector is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. Both individuals and companies need to embrace changes and transformation.
The anniversary also witnessed the release of NIO Capital 2022 Investment Outlook, a white paper summarizing and reflecting on the company’s focus industries and comprehensively reviewing its development process.
The paper covers three topics, namely energy, automobiles and logistics, and deep technologies. These topics are subdivided into 11 parts, including the production of clean energy, energy storage, the application of lithium batteries, electric vehicles, autonomous driving, intelligent cockpits, automotive semiconductors, internationalization, etc.
Later in the day, Professor Li Daokui, director of the Academic Center for Chinese Economic Practice and Thinking (ACCEPT) at Tsinghua University, delivered a keynote speech on China’s economy over the next five years. Professor Li said the competition in the technology sector, especially green and low-carbon technologies, will become fiercer in the next five years. In addition, he analyzed the key trends influencing economic development and shared his predictions and expectations, providing a reference for investors and entrepreneurs to plan their development strategies.
Li Yao, NIO Capital’s managing director, hosted the automotive and logistics roundtable discussion themed on the implementation and development of autonomous driving. He was joined by Bao Junwei, CEO and co-founder of global supplier of image-grade LiDAR Innovusion; Cao Xudong, CEO and founder of autonomous driving technology company Momenta; Julian Ma, founder and CEO of autonomous trucking startup Inceptio Technology; Joe Xia, CEO of intelligent automobile company JiDU; and Yan Jun, founder and chairman of computer vision and intelligent sensing technology developer IICT. The guests shared their ideas about the development trend and commercialization of autonomous driving. They said the autonomous driving sector has not entered "the second half" of its development stage and that the sector will create companies with greater potential than those in the mobile internet industry. In the future, data, vehicle-road network coordination, and technologies that can help a company develop an ecology in its specific sector will be some of the core competencies of a company.
NIO Capital’s managing director Adair Lv hosted the roundtable discussion on how the automobile industry is shaping the future semiconductor industry. He was joined by Hank Sun, CEO of chip developer CIX Technology; Sunny Siu, chairman and CEO of DPU developer Jaguar Microsystems; Michael Xu, founder and CEO of autonomous driving high-performance chip developer Huixi Technology; Yang Jian, general manager of semiconductor SiC (Silicon Carbide) wafer developer TankeBlue; Zhang Linglan, COO and co-founder of semiconductor startup Biren Technology; and YL Zhou, vice president of sales of Nexchip Semiconductor Corporation, a semiconductor foundry specializing in integrated circuit production. The guests said the intelligent EV sector will be an important incremental market for the global semiconductor industry. China’s huge application ecosystem provides a broad development space for the semiconductor sector. Recent years have seen the consistent development of semiconductor technologies, guided by relevant policies and driven by the development of intelligent automobiles.
Carl Guan, managing director of NIO Capital, hosted the energy roundtable discussion focusing on changes in the global energy mix and chances for China’s new energy industry. He was joined by Bai Houshan, chairman of lithium battery cathode materials manufacturer Ronbay Technology; He Zhonglin, chairman of chip and secret key technology developer RT-HITECH; Alfred Wang, CEO of energy storage solution and service provider AlphaESS; and Yu Huigen, general manager of Welion New Energy, hybrid solid-liquid electrolyte lithium-ion batteries and all-solid-state lithium batteries developer and producer. The guests said each industrial chain will have its leading enterprises, and all companies have the potential to become the leading ones. They added that as the technology transformation accelerates, companies need to invest more in R&D, emphasizing that only when the quality of R&D and products are ensured, can a company stand out in the fierce competition.
NIO Capital over the past five years
NIO Capital aims to be a high-quality investment firm in the new era of equity investment, said Ian Zhu.
In 2017, NIO Capital raised its first RMB fund. At that time, the company implemented an industry-oriented plan, selecting high-quality companies in the energy, automobile, and deep technology sectors. It also invested in some leading companies and participated in their growth process. Meanwhile, NIO Capital learned that LPs have multi-dimensional demands.
In 2018, the company raised the first US dollar fund, NIO Capital Eve ONE LP, and used the capital for some early-stage projects. When applying capital from this fund to invest, NIO Capital has held up to its independent and market-driven principle. The company was recognized by leading western LPs for its capability to manage funds under its professional decision-making and governance systems.
The investments paid off. After years of accumulation, NIO Capital raised its second US dollar fund, NIO Capital Eve ONE Fund II LP, in 2021. The fund was oversubscribed since the first US dollar fund had performed well.
In 2022, the company completed the initial closing of its second RMB fund. NIO Capital will continue to make investment plans with its professional decision-making and management.
For an investment firm, teams are its major asset. NIO Capital established its core teams in 2016 and began to invest in 2017. The teams are rather stable. Members of the company’s middle- to top-level management teams have worked together for an average of 4.8 years. 35% of the investment and post-investment team members have expertise in the energy, automobile, and cutting-edge technology sectors and 65% have experience in the investment sector. All these professionals are well organized and capable of achieving higher work efficiency.
The major task for an investment firm is to introduce suitable resources to innovation projects or companies. NIO Capital aims to empower its partners with more than just funds. So far, the firm has invested in some leading companies in the energy, automobile, and deep technology sectors. It has also established a complete and sustainable ecosystem to guide and assist these companies to build industrial linkage, constantly promoting the development of companies and accelerating industrial transformation.
NIO Capital is grateful for the trust of its investors, portfolio companies, and partners and will continue to work with them for a sustainable future.