Yesterday, Gold House — the leading Asian & Pacific Islander (API) change-maker community fighting together for socioeconomic equity — launched a new $30 million startup investment fund called Gold House Ventures. Our mission is to back entrepreneurs of API descent, support them along their entrepreneurial journey with the network and resources of our collective, and generate investment returns that the Gold House non-profit can use to do more good for Asians across our country.
The response to our announcement has been so energizing, and a reminder of how special our community is:
“Binance has always sought to partner with talented founders & builders at the earliest stages via both our incubation as well as venture investing practice. We are excited to be a major investor in Gold House Ventures, especially as the team increasingly looks at potential opportunities in Web3.”
— Ken Li, Investment Director at Binance Labs.
“Congrats to Gold House on your new $30M VC fund supporting API founders. You’ve been tireless in your work uplifting API founders, leaders, creatives with Gold Open, Gold Rush, Gold House Futures, and now this. Proud to be a supporter!”
— Kevin Zhang, Partner at Upfront Ventures.
“Founders and early stage investors should be excited to partner with this incredible Gold House crew and community, spearheaded by Megan Ruan, Eric Feng, and Bing Chen.”
— Jason Yeh, Co-founder and General Partner at Patron.
A rising tide lifts all boats. And Gold House is rising.
— Daniel Dae Kim, Actor, Producer, Activist
Like with many creations in life, starting a new venture fund takes an entire village and we couldn’t have done this without the amazing support of so many people. To the institutions that believed in us (from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to First Close Partners to Binance, who we are honored to be deeply partnering with), the individuals that backed us (including my friends Albert and Mike Lee, Bubba Murarka, Deb Liu, Eric Wu, Harry Cheung, James Hong, and many more), to the VC firms that supported us (such as Accel, General Catalyst, Goodwater, Juxtapose, NEA, just to name a few), you have our enduring thanks and gratitude.
In the beginning
This week has been six months in the making from when we first formed Gold House Ventures. But the story really began nearly six years ago when Gold House co-founder Bing Chen sent out an invite for the inaugural Gold House event with this simple goal: “increase our people’s collective power and impact on culture”.
Over the next half decade, that call to action would turn into a nationwide movement with 10 full time staff, 100+ dedicated volunteers, and 1,000+ active members at Gold House all united by a common goal to foster unity, representation, and success for APIs. And also the question of is there even more we can do together?
Last fall, my partners Bing, Megan Ruan, and I thought about that question and came up with an answer in Gold House Ventures, a way to not only support our community but also to support our organization. We formed Gold House Ventures with 3 goals in mind:
- Build upon the world class collective Gold House has convened
- Generate best-in-class returns for our Limited Partners by investing in great API-led companies
- Provide long term funding for the Gold House non-profit to be able to do more for our community
Building on the Gold House collective
Gold House Ventures is possible because it stands on the shoulders of Gold House and all the people who have supported us over the years. We’ve modeled our investment strategy after affinity based investment groups like Gaingels or Broadway Angels or the Stanford Engineering Venture Fund, whereby like minded people, who share a common interest or purpose, invest together. For Gold House Ventures, our affinity is a passion for the API community and we are fortunate to collaborate with many of the best API investors in the world — all members of Gold House — who have shared numerous investment opportunities with us.
Because of Gold House, we also have access to Gold Rush, the leading startup accelerator for APIs that Gold House has operated since 2019. Some of the many successful Gold Rush alumni companies include unicorns Oura and Clipboard Health, as well as Outer, Italic, Alloy and more that have collectively raised over $350 million in follow-on financing.
Our ties with the Gold House collective have allowed us to already invest in 33 API founded startups alongside world class firms including Accel, Bling Capital, DFJ, Floodgate, General Catalyst, Goodwater, Imaginary Ventures, Juxtapose, Khosla, Lightspeed, NEA, Patron, Sequoia, Softbank, Tribe, and more.
Generate best-in-class returns for our Limited Partners
10% of all businesses in the US are led by Asian Americans, creating over $700 billion of economic value and over 3.6 million jobs in this country. At the core of Gold House Ventures is our excitement for these API entrepreneurs. We are fundamentally long the asset class of API founders and believe that a portfolio constructed of leading Asian led startups can generate great investment returns for our Limited Partners.
While Gold House is a non-profit, Gold House Ventures is very much a for-profit initiative for our LPs. We are not asking our LPs for donations to subsidize failing companies. Instead, we are pursuing opportunities for our LPs to be a part of what we hope will be a new generation of iconic, Asian founded companies that can create even more economic value and new jobs, and be examples of API representation that everyone in our community can be inspired by.
Provide long term funding for the Gold House non-profit
Gold House Ventures first and foremost has a responsibility to provide a great rate of return on our LP capital. But in doing so, we also can generate funding and resources for the Gold House non-profit at the same time. Like other for-profit investment funds, the investing partners of Gold House Ventures (Bing, Megan, and myself) collect management fees and carried interest on our investment profits. But we then donate 100% of these fees and carried interest to Gold House to fund important programs and initiatives that aid and support APIs. Some of Gold House’s efforts in 2021 include:
- Raising over $14 million in funding that went directly to #StopAsianHate community organizations and victims.
- Marketing and awareness campaigns for 32 Asian film and entertainment projects (including Shang-Chi) and a partnership with Netflix to promote all of their API content.
- Awarding over $500k in grants to API philanthropic communities in partnership with Asian American Futures.
At Gold House Ventures, the pursuit of profits and social good go hand in hand. Investing in the best API founders leads to financial returns for LPs, funding for Gold House, and representation and success for the Asian community. As we like to tell our LPs: “We not only want Gold House Ventures to be a profitable partnership for you, but one that you feel good about at the same time”.
Last week, Forbes released their annual Midas List, providing their ranking of the top 100 investors in Venture Capital. What was relevant about that list was not just the impressive number of Asians recognized as leaders in the VC industry, but also a reminder for me about how venture investing is thought of largely as an individual activity. The Midas List — perhaps the industry’s most well known report — is a list of people, not teams or firms. Investors are examined independently, their great accomplishments singularly attributed to just one person.
That’s not to say there’s no teamwork and camaraderie within the VC industry. I worked with amazing colleagues during my time as a Partner at Kleiner Perkins, many of whom I am close with to this very day. But the activity of venture capital, the action itself of making an investment in a company, does often resemble an individual sport more than a team sport. It should come as no surprise that baseball analogies are frequently used in the VC industry (batting averages and slugging percentages to describe investing success rates, singles and home runs to describe investing returns). Investing can feel like you’re a lone batter, swinging at pitches by yourself. But it doesn’t have to.
Our mission at Gold House Ventures is inclusive of everyone that’s interested in supporting APIs. We hope to partner with other investors across our industry because it takes a village to lift up a community. We hope to celebrate the success of all API entrepreneurs because of the future entrepreneur who might be inspired by that example. We hope to make investing a team sport because it’s more fun to do something for your community while also doing it with your community. We hope you’ll join us along this journey.
Come find us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Go team!