Another venture capitalist is leaving his longtime home for something new. This time it’s DCM partner Kyle Lui, who left the company after almost eight years to become the second general partner at Bling Capital.
DCM has a turbulent history. In particular, it is one of the first Sand Hill Road venture funds to establish a significant presence in Asia, particularly China. Since 1996, the firm has grown to over $4 billion in assets under management and has invested in more than 400 technology companies including Kuaishou, SoFi and Bill.com.
During his time at DCM, Lui has been involved in several US investments including DocSend, Tempo, TravelBank, Wrike and Lime, as well as companies that are now public such as Hims & Hers, Shift and SoFi.
Luis Wechsel is the youngest among the top-class fund managers. He noted the trend of leaving older “traditional” VC firms to start their own firms or join newer firms. We saw how Katie Haun left Andreessen Horowitz late to start her own fund. She just raised $1.5 billion for two crypto-focused funds. Then this month Wesley Chan left Felicis, where he was a partner, to start a fund with former Morgan Stanley technology banker Pegah Ebrahimi.
He also pointed out that less permanent partners would leave established companies to take up higher positions. For example, Sarah Cannon is leaving Index Ventures for Coatue, Katherine Boyle is leaving General Catalyst for a16z, and Arielle Zuckerberg is leaving Coatue for Long Journey Ventures.
Not only is this an opportunity for Lui to work with Bling Capital GP Ben Ling, but it’s also an opportunity to go from a 26-year-old company to a three-and-a-half-year-old company, giving him “more of the ability to build a business.” , which is earlier in its development.”
Lui 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 a skill to work with founders in the earliest stages,” Lui added. “Working at a law firm with two general partners is really appealing, as is working with someone I’ve known as long as Ben. It’s important for companies like his to stand out and radiate what makes them special. I’ve seen this with the portfolio of Bling Capital – a heavily operational fund that forces companies to find product market viability.”
Ling told TechCrunch that he wasn’t originally looking for another general partner. When he founded Bling Capital in 2018, he chose to be a solo GP, partly as a differentiator and partly to make faster investment decisions.
The solo route has fared reasonably well for Bling, which now has 18 unicorns in its portfolio of investments, including Vise, Elemy, Tempo, CapChase, and Veho.
When Ling raised his first fund, he recalled telling his limited partners that it was his intention to remain alone, but as he raised the second and third funds, they more frequently asked him if he would bring in someone Ling had already three directors but would reply that if he could find the right partner he would. And this time he says he did it with Lui.
“We complement each other in terms of skills and networks, so hiring him was a good opportunity,” added Ling. “Having a second GP gives us the opportunity to have greater coverage and see more investments and opportunities. Within network coverage, it also helps connect our portfolio companies to businesses. Second, it gives us more time to focus on some investments and me on others, which also gives us the opportunity to scale.”
In terms of networks, Lui is Salesforce, DCM, and HBS, while Ling is Google, YouTube, Facebook, and Khosla Ventures, which Ling describes as “a nice combination.”
Ling confirmed that Bling Capital’s fund focus hasn’t changed — it will continue to focus on consumers, marketing, fintech, SaaS, and consumer health — but it gives Bling an opportunity to get more reach and more firepower.
“Our key differentiation is product and product market alignment and the 100 people on our Product Council which includes heads of product and growth LPs and when we invest they are all invested and our portfolio CEO has access to them” said Ling .
When asked why founders want bling on their cap chart, Lui replied that two general partners with a background in product and operations are rare. This, combined with Bling’s reputation for working hard for founders and pushing them to succeed.
Moawia Eldeeb, Tempo co-founder and CEO, knows Lui and Ling well and says both have been great partners for his company. Ling led the seed round in Tempo while at Khosla and participated in subsequent rounds as part of Bling Capital’s Opportunity Fund. Ling also introduced Lui to Eldeeb, resulting in DCM leading Tempo’s Series A round.
“It will be interesting to have them work together,” said Eldeeb. “They are two of my hardest working investors. Having Kyle is like having a third co-founder: he knew everything about the company and the industry. Some investors just sit at 100 feet and want to offer advice, but Kyle is different. Ben too, especially how he’s growing first-time founders into CEOs, which is quite a process. He spent a lot of time guiding me through the process and helping with fundraising. Having both in one company becomes exciting and it becomes the hardest working company.”