One year ago this month, Gold House, the leading Asian & Pacific Islander (API) change-maker collective, announced our debut $30 million startup investment fund called Gold House Ventures. With the amazing support of pioneers in the API community (including CZ, Eric Wu, Deb Liu, George Ruan, Steve Chen, Tony Xu, Anderson .Paak, Daniel Dae Kim, Padma Lakshmi, Ronny Chieng and many more business and cultural leaders), we set out to do the following:
- Bring together the best startup founders of API descent under one portfolio because we think APIs have the potential to create iconic companies. 26% of unicorn startups (valued over $1 billion dollars) have an Asian founder.
- Support them along their entrepreneurial journey with the network and resources of the Gold House collective.
- Generate investment returns that the Gold House non-profit can use to do more good for Asians across our country.
Nearly a year and a half in since our first investment, we’ve been hard at work executing against those goals and are excited by the progress we’ve made:
- 68 total investments from our fund
- $10 million dollars deployed
- 23 new companies graduated from our Gold Rush startup accelerator, now in its 8th cohort with a class of 5 fast growing startups: AmorSui, Anise Health, Parker, Sincerely, and Tresl
- 26 diverse board placements we’ve help make since the October launch of the Multicultural Leadership Coalition
- 500+ talented, venture backed founders we’ve interacted with
And all of this generated funding and resources that helped the Gold House non-profit deliver $50 million in social impact value (i.e. dollars directly created/contributed to the Asian Pacific community) in 2022!
Diving into the numbers further, Gold House Ventures has primarily focused on Seed and Series A companies to date, which represent 76% of our portfolio. These are companies like Nectar (DTC allergy treatment) and Mercaso (wholesale ecommerce for businesses). Our largest source of early stage investment opportunities is our Gold Rush accelerator, whose alumnus include Oura (maker of the leading Smart Ring) and Clipboard Health (healthcare staffing platform). Gold Rush continues to attract amazing API founders like who are selected after a rigorous application process — our most recent acceptance rate into the accelerator was less than 3%.
While we’re most active at the early stage, we’ve also opportunistically invested in later stage companies (24% of our portfolio) that we have high conviction and affinity towards. For example, we participated in the growth round of multicultural e-grocer Weee! because not only are their business metrics world class, but their Chief Creative Officer Jon M. Chu is a founding member of Gold House (and also an LP in Gold House Ventures) and CEO Larry Liu is someone we’ve known and admired for a half decade now.
In addition to spanning multiple stages, Gold House Ventures investments have also spanned multiple sectors as the API community has shown they can be pioneers in any industry. Our top sector for investment is Enterprise SaaS (representing 26% of our portfolio), which mirrors the growing concentration of Enterprise investments in overall VC investing. But we’re also active in other categories ranging from ecommerce to fintech to web3. Our interest and involvement in CPG (our #2 most popular sector) began with Gold Rush where half of the accelerator companies in the first 2 years were in the Packaged Goods or Food & Beverage category. This includes leading brands like Sanzo and Fly By Jing, which have achieved breakout success bringing Asian inspired products to the masses.
Like with many other VC funds, our investment pacing was fast in Q4 2021 through the first half of 2022 when we averaged over 5 investments per month during the bull run. Then as the economy slowed in the second half of 2022, so has our investment pacing. We’re now making 2 investments per month, but our average investment size is up ~50% this year. We expect this strategy of larger investments made at a slower pace to continue through the rest of 2023.
But of all these statistics, the stat that we’re most proud of has been our work growing the Gold House Ventures team. Starting first with our own internal partnership, we’ve brought on 2 amazing new additions: my world class partners Christine Yi and Oscar Wong. And we’ve also added over 100 new members to our external Venture Network, a group of experienced investors from top firms including A16Z, Accel, Floodgate, General Catalyst, GGV, Goodwater, Headline, Initialized, Juxtapose, Khosla, NEA, Precursor, XFund and many more who have been invaluable in connecting us with great API entrepreneurs and investment opportunities and championing our fund.
The concept of team is at the heart of everything we do at Gold House Ventures. In fact, we call our investment strategy “investing as a team sport” because every one of our investments came through a referral from someone in the Gold House collective. A referral that recognized a great founder with the potential to achieve great things not just for our portfolio, but for our community.
In a highly competitive industry that often resembles an individual sport (with terms like “your deals”, or “her portfolio”, or “his track record”), we continue to aspire to approach investing differently because of our overall mission of championing unity, success, and representation for all Asians. That mission is inclusive of everyone interested in supporting APIs. That mission can bring together investors across the industry and breakthrough competitive boundaries. That mission allows us all to do something positive for our community, while also doing it with our community.
In a first year filled with lots of progress and learnings for Gold House Ventures, our number one learning has been that investing can indeed be a team sport. I can’t wait to see what our team of 5 partners, 18 Gold House colleagues, and 350 Venture Network members does in Year 2!