The former president of Google Greater China has founded a $115 million “business creation platform” to fund Chinese high-tech start-ups.
Innovation Works will be led by Kai-Fu Lee and funded by a group of venture capital funds and private investors, including YouTube co-founder Steve Chen. Lee, who resigned from his post at Google last week, will be chairman and CEO.
The company will focus on investing in internet, mobile internet, and cloud computing technology targeted at the Greater China market.
“The Chinese entrepreneurial environment is still in its formative stage, with significant barriers for the early-stage entrepreneur: the lack of management experience and coaching, the reluctance of venture capitalists to invest in companies in the formation stage, and the lack of networking and experience to pull a company together,” Lee said.
“Innovation Works will provide capital, manpower, legal, financial and IT support. Our commitment is to mentoring and supporting the next-generation of Chinese entrepreneurs so that they can focus on building great products without distraction,” he added.
The company has even had endorsement from local government figures, with Beijing Vice Mayor Gou Zhongwen announcing that he hoped Innovation Works would “foster more entrepreneurs, valued Chinese brands, intellectual property and high-end information technology.”
Lee joined Google in 2004 from Microsoft, where he had worked for six years. Microsoft took legal action against Lee and Google for allegedly breaking an agreement that he would not work for a rival for one year after leaving. The case was settled out of court under undisclosed terms.
John Liu, who previously led Google’s sales team in greater China, will be the new president of Google Greater China.