Investment

Scion of real estate dynasty adds Nothing to portfolio

Always keen on new ideas, Adrian Cheng’s C Ventures has invested in a UK consumer technology company called Nothing, alongside EQT Ventures. Nothing will use the $70 million fundraising to expand its product ecosystem, which last August included the launch of carbon-neutral wireless earbuds. 

Nothing plans to collaborate with Qualcomm Technologies and further develop a London design hub. The firm’s co-founder and CEO, Carl Pei, said Nothing has the fuel “to realise the next phase of our vision of a seamless digital future” following its funding round. 

Cheng refers to himself as a “cultural entrepreneur” and set up his venture capital arm, C Ventures, in 2017, to capture the interest of Millenials

Design aesthetics are favoured by Adrian Cheng – pictured above in the middle – who likes to combine real estate with artistic flair. Cheng is an influential arts patron in Hong Kong whose K11 Art Foundation, founded in 2010, has been responsible for integrating art installations into shopping malls across Hong Kong and China. 

Educated at Harvard, Cheng is a well-known business figure in Hong Kong where he runs HKEX-listed New World Development. He is a third-generation scion of the real estate empire founded by his grandfather Cheng Yu-tung in 1970. 

In a classic rags to riches fable, New World’s founder took his first steps to becoming a real estate tycoon by opening a gold shop in 1946. Over the years, he built a property, jewellery and gaming group worth more than $19 billion when he passed away in 2016. The Chengs are today regarded as one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families. 

Adrian Cheng, a former Goldman Sachs banker, has made New World’s Chow Tai Fook a jewellery brand with real clout. He refers to himself as a “cultural entrepreneur” and set up his venture capital arm, C Ventures, in 2017, to capture the interest of Millenials. The firm focuses on disruptive businesses in technology, lifestyle and media. Its latest investment in Nothing was made on the basis of sharing Cheng’s vision of engaging next-generation customers through artistic flair and craftsmanship.  

When Adrian Cheng developed C Ventures he had a clear vision: to back and build a portfolio of predominantly Western companies that would appeal to the “BAT Generation”, namely Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, China’s three largest internet companies with unprecedented reach into China’s Generation Z and millennial middle classes

The skies have darkened over the last year as turmoil hits global markets, supply chains, growth stocks and the spectre of rising inflation. The Chinese authorities have introduced a regulatory clampdown to deal with potential dissent. Big tech stocks have fallen in China this year amid fears of fresh clampdowns and the impact of war in China, although venture capital deals were still in favour last year. According to Preqin, VC investing hit a record $131 billion in 2021, with startups prominent.

Since inception, C Ventures has backed a range of ‘hipster’ companies including Armarium, an omnichannel luxury retail platform. A more recent deal that reflects Cheng’s vision for championing cultural entrepreneurship was last June’s investment in Hong Kong-based Casetify, a tech accessories company that has worked with leading celebrities and artists to develop bespoke, one-off phone cases.  Cheng also has a start-up accelerator called Eureka Nova.

And it’s not only physical real estate that interests Adrian Cheng. In December 2021, he announced he was moving into the metaverse by investing in a blockchain gaming platform, the Sandbox; a subsidiary of Hong Kong-headquartered blockchain gaming unicorn, Animoca Brands. He has acquired one of its largest plots of digital land to build an innovation hub. Its flagship will be the GBA Pavillion, which Cheng will use to showcase some of the start-ups he has backed in the Greater Bay Area: an economic zone forming a nexus between Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities within Guangdong. 

Subscribe

You will need a Premium Plus Subscription to access this database.

Exclusive news, analysis and research on global family enterprise and private investment offices.

Access to the most comprehensive fully interactive database on global family offices, principal investment offices, and family enterprises.

Check Deal Data, Senior Staff, and New Analysis on more than 1000 family/principal investment and holding groups

Already have an account? Login

Subscribe

You need at least a Premium Subscription to read this article.

The most comprehensive information service on the global family enterprise world, featuring exclusive news, analysis, research and data on global family enterprises, family offices, and private investment offices.

Premium

£299

per year

  • Exclusive reports, analysis and commentary
  • Exclusive access to family/private investment office deal information
  • Exclusive interviews with principals and senior management of family/investment offices
SUBSCRIBE NOW

Premium+

£399

per year

  • Access to All of Premium
  • Access to all of FamilyCapital Analytics, our interactive database with more than 1000 detailed profiles of family investment groups

More Info

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Already have an account? Login

You've reached the end.

Continue reading free articles by registering as a Member.
Or choose a Premium Plan.

Membership

Free

  • Exclusive reports, analysis and commentary
REGISTER NOW

Premium

£299

per year

  • Exclusive reports, analysis and commentary
  • Exclusive access to family/private investment office deal information
  • Exclusive interviews with principals and senior management of family/investment offices
SUBSCRIBE NOW

Premium+

£399

per year

  • Access to All of Premium
  • Access to all of FamilyCapital Analytics, our interactive database with more than 500 detailed profiles of family investment groups

More Info

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Already have an account? Login

Leave a Reply