The Keys to Investing in Emerging Markets

James Mi of Lightspeed China On Learning from Mistakes

In the penultimate episode of Pinn’s miniseries, she is joined by James Mi, Founding Partner of Lightspeed China, a leading China-focused venture investment firm with over $2 billion under management. Their conversation explores the importance of a growth mindset, how James’s uncommon skill set has propelled him forward, and his expert advice for young investors.

Listen to the full episode above on Spotify or over on iTunes.

On the growth mindset for teams in emerging markets

James looks for founders with a strong growth mindset, because they’ll be able to learn, grow, and improve alongside the many iterations of the startup.

On what successful U.S. companies did poorly in earlier efforts

It’s common for successful US companies to think they can transfer their model to other countries with equal success, but it is rarely that simple.

On his superpower in helping emerging-market founders

James’s uncommon skill and educational background is a benefit to the startups he supports.

On his advice to young investors

Successful venture capital investing requires a long-term focus, so building a broad and unique skill set will pay off.

On what makes a great VC investor

There’s no perfect education or career path in VC, but as with many other successful investors, James believes in lifelong learning.

Lightspeed Ventures India, Managing Partner, Bejul Somaia, On Transitioning from Operator to Investor

Bejul Somaia, Managing Partner at Lightspeed Ventures India, joins Pinn for a remarkable final episode. Starting his career as an operator just before the dotcom boom and later transitioning to an investor, Bejul’s unique dual perspective makes him a founder’s dream partner. During his conversation with Pinn, Bejul shares the mindset shifts he made between operator and investor and how they impact the fundamental way he does business.

Listen to the full episode above on Spotify or over on iTunes.

On his mindset shift as an investor

In his previous work, Bejul was accustomed to constant feedback that worked as a compass to determine his track. As an investor, he’s given very little feedback, if any, most of the time.

On dealing with founders that make him uncomfortable

As a crucial component of venture capital investing is meeting and working with all types of people.

On what investors often overlook when investing in emerging markets

Many investors have “drunk their own kool-aid” as they say, and believe that their previous success easily translates to other efforts. That makes it seem much easier than it actually is.

On the “secret sauce” of building for emerging markets

It’s human nature to look for the shortcut, and complex endeavors can usually be optimized over time, but Bejul sees businesses as requiring the same fundamentals no matter where they’re located.



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