Another venture capitalist is leaving his longtime home for something new. This time it’s DCM partner Kyle Lui, who left after nearly eight years to become Bling Capital’s second general partner.
DCM has a long history. It is notably one of the first Sand Hill Road venture capital funds to establish a major presence in Asia, particularly in China. Since 1996, it has grown to over $4 billion under management and has invested in over 400 technology companies, including Kuaishou, SoFi and Bill.com.
During his time at DCM, Lui was involved in several US investments, including DocSend, Tempo, TravelBank, Wrike and Lime, as well as now public companies, such as Hims & Hers, Shift and SoFi.
Lui’s decision is the most recent among top fund managers. He noted the tendency to leave old “traditional” venture capital firms to start their own business or join new ventures. We’ve seen Katie Haun leave Andreessen Horowitz last to start her own fund. It just raised $1.5 billion for two crypto-focused funds. Then this month, Wesley Chan left Felicis, where he was a partner, to set up a fund with former Morgan Stanley tech banker Pegah Ebrahimi.
He also pointed out that junior partners were leaving established companies for more senior positions. For example, Sarah Cannon leaving Index Ventures for Coatue, Katherine Boyle leaving General Catalyst for a16z, and Arielle Zuckerberg leaving Coatue for Long Journey Ventures.
Not only is it a chance for Him to work with Bling Capital GP Ben Ling, but it’s an opportunity to grow from a 26-year-old company to a three-and-a-half-year-old company, giving him “more ability to shape a company that is earlier in its evolution.
He and Ling have known each other for more than 15 years, since Ling invested in Lui’s company ChoicePass while Ling was at Khosla Ventures. ChoicePass was later acquired by Salesforce and became part of Work.com.
“It’s an ability to work with founders from the earliest stages,” Lui added. “Being in a two-partner business is really appealing, as is working with someone I’ve known for as long as Ben. It’s important for companies like hers to stand out and spread what makes her special. I’ve seen this with Bling Capital’s portfolio – a strong operations-focused fund that forces companies to find products that fit the market.
Ling told TechCrunch he was not initially looking for another general partner. When he launched Bling Capital in 2018, he made the choice to be a solo generalist, partly to differentiate himself, and partly to be able to make faster investment decisions.
The solo road has gone pretty well for Bling, which now has 18 unicorns in its investment portfolio which includes Vise, Elemy, Tempo, CapChase, and Veho.
In fact, when Ling was raising his first fund, he remembers telling his backers that he intended to go solo, but as he raised the second and third funds, they started asking him more often. if he was going to bring someone. Ling already had three principals but would reply that he would if he could find the right partner. And this time he says he did it with Him.
“We complement each other in terms of skills and network, so it was a good opportunity to bring him in,” added Ling. “Having a second GP gives us the ability to have greater network coverage and see more investments and opportunities. Within network coverage, it also helps our portfolio companies to be connected to Secondly, it gives us more time for him to focus on certain investments and me on others, which will also give us the opportunity to evolve.
Linked to networks, Lui is Salesforce, DCM and HBS, while Ling is Google, YouTube, Facebook and Khosla Ventures, something Ling said is “a good combo”.
Ling confirmed that the focus of Bling Capital’s fund is not changing – it will still focus on consumers, marketing, fintech, SaaS and consumer health – but it gives Bling the opportunity to get more cover and more firepower.
“Our key differentiator is product and product market fit and the 100 people on our Product Council, which includes product and growth managers, and when we invest, they’re all invested, and our portfolio CEO there has access,” Ling said. .
When asked why the founders would want Bling in their cap table, Lui replied that two general partners with experience in products and operations are rare. That, combined with Bling’s reputation for working hard for founders and pushing them to succeed.
Moawia Eldeeb, co-founder and CEO of Tempo, knows Lui and Ling well, saying the two have been great partners for his business. Ling led the starting round at Tempo while in Khosla and participated in subsequent rounds as part of Bling Capital’s opportunity fund. Ling also introduced Lui to Eldeeb, which resulted in DCM leading Tempo’s Series A.
“It will be interesting to have them work together,” Eldeeb said. “These are two of the investors who work the most for me. With Kyle, it’s like having a third co-founder: he knew everything about the company and the industry. Some investors just sit 100 feet high and want to give advice, but Kyle is different. The same goes for Ben, especially on how he trains early founders to become CEOs, which is quite a process. He spent a lot of time guiding me through the process and helping me with fundraising. Both in one company are going to be exciting, and it will be the hardest working company.