Rookie Fund Student-run VC Announces Expansion to the Greater Bay Area


Rookie Fund, Asia’s first student-run venture capital fund, has announced its expansion into Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Rookie Fund (“The Fund”) aims to offer seed capital to scalable technology startups with a core member that has graduated within the last five years. Under its expansion plan in the Greater Bay Area, the first batch of the Fund has recruited six Student Investment Partners in Hong Kong to be responsible for deal sourcing, evaluation and investment of a standard ticket size of USD 10,000. The application for funding is opening from January to June 2019.

Rookie Fund is an initiative founded by Ms. Rui Ma and Mr. Norman Chang, former Venture Partners of 500 Startups in Greater China. The Fund was originally named “500 Rookies” as a spin-off of 500 Startups – a global leading seed-stage investment firm and startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley. Incepted in Taipei, Taiwan, the Fund has expanded its footprint to Xiamen, China in 2017, aiming to introduce more university students into startup and venture capital scenes. To date, Rookie Fund has an investment portfolio of five technology startup companies across the two locations, in the fields of artificial intelligence, financial technology, e-commerce, consumable technology, hardware and Internet of Things. One of its Taipei-headquartered startups UNH3O, which builds A.I. to power personalization of the future, has acquired a leading chatbot analytics platform, Botimize, along with investment from Zeroth, a Hong Kong-based startup accelerator program focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Student-run venture capital is an unconventional concept in Asia. An equivalent model of Rookie Fund in the United States is Dorm Room Fund, backed by First Round Capital, and Rough Draft Ventures, powered by General Catalyst. The first batch of Rookie Fund’s Hong Kong investment team is comprised of six university students coming from diverse backgrounds with strong experience in technology, startup and finance. The Student Investment Partners (“The Rookies”) have been equipped with Silicon Valley angel investment knowledge and allocated with one-on-one mentorship from top local-based international VC firms, namely, Beyond Ventures, Click Ventures, Fresco Capital, MindWorks Ventures, Saltagen Ventures, and Vectr Ventures to name a few. The Rookies will be working closely with the startup ecosystem, institutions, partners, and financing sources, to support young founders in Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong-based startups have raised over 1.1 billion USD in 2017 which is double the amount from the previous year. Startups are growing and benefiting from new startup facilities across Shenzhen and Hong Kong. We realized this is an opportunity to come to the Greater Bay Area to educate university students about the concept of venture capital, as well as to provide seed-stage capital to entrepreneurs as an alternative besides grants from the government,” said Ms. Stephanie Tang, Managing Director of Rookie Fund. “We are optimistic to discover and invest in young founders who are revolutionizing the world. We believe this region has young people who could potentially start the next Facebook, Snapchat or,” added Mr. Keith Ng, Operations Manager of the Fund.

Rookie Fund is Asia’s first student-run venture capital fund. The Fund offers USD 10,000 to Hong Kong or Shenzhen-based angel-to-seed stage technology startups with a core member (owning more than 10% equity) who is studying or has graduated within the last five years. The Fund’s Student Investment Partners are in charge of deal sourcing, investment analysis, and due diligence. Prospective startups are required to showcase customer-proven product demonstrations. The application of funding is opening from January to June 2019. For details and application, please visit