Horizons Ventures, Li Ka-shing’s venture investing group, is Family Capital’s Investment Office of the Year.
The group, linked to the Li Ka-shing Foundation, is a model of how an entrepreneur who has created a family business dynasty (CK Hutchison Holdings) involved in a host of old economy sectors can create a dynamic new economy focus and link it to the family’s philanthropic efforts. Not only that – led by its almost mythical co-founder Solina Chau – Horizons is a great investor, spotting trends before many and reaping big financial rewards as a result.
Horizons reportedly holds around 8% of Zoom’s stock, worth around $10 billion…
Horizons, which often leads many of the rounds it participates in, is also distinguishable in the venture world with its long-term approach to holding on to investments. Born out of the Li family’s business ethos and its single funding source (Li Ka-shing), Horizons tends to hold on to its investments longer than most in the sector.
The Hong Kong-based Horizons has been known for some years as a savvy venture investor, backing a slew of big-name tech/new economy companies, including Facebook, Spotify, Slack, and Impossible Foods, since founded in 2002.
But this year, Horizons hit the headlines for its early backing of perhaps the tech business most synonymous with the Covid-19 pandemic, Zoom, the video conferencing group. Horizons reportedly holds around 8% of Zoom’s stock, worth around $10 billion in early December. That’s a pretty good return on backing the San Jose-based listed mega-tech company with two funding rounds worth around $36 million back in 2013 – and that total investment included other investors.
Horizons is a prolific venture investor. Just this year, it participated in 22 rounds worth more than $1.6 billion, and it led 10 of them. These included big-ticket/growth capital investments like Impossible Foods, Hippo Insurance, Perfect Day, and Airwallex, but also much smaller investments, seeding biotech, and alternative food/beverage startups.
In the last five years, Horizons has participated in more than 120 rounds, backing more than 100 businesses across the world. It’s relatively agnostic when it comes to investing, although this year Horizons concentrated on biotech/healthcare, food tech, and fintech.
From a family capital perspective, what is even more remarkable about Horizons Ventures is it was set up when Li was 74 – far past the retirement age of most, even in the often geriatric-like world of family business management.
Of course, Chau, 60, has led Horizons’ investment efforts. And she has a team of more than 100 to help her make the right investment calls and run the business. But to have the foresight to see the tech boom and to have a front-row position in it is down to Li’s foresight.
Now 92, Li’s long-held “superman” nomenclature is even more relevant as a result of what he has created and achieved at Horizons.