Jun Hong Heng Of Crescent Cove Advisors: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A Founder

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
5 min readMay 8, 2022

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Achieving your vision in starting a company takes a lot longer than you think! Patience is important.

As part of our interview series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A Founder”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jun Hong Heng.

Jun Hong Heng is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Crescent Cove Advisors, LP, a technology-focused investment firm dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs and founders. Before launching Crescent Cove in 2016, Jun was at Myriad Asset Management and Argyle Street Management. He currently serves on the boards of several companies including Luminar Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: LAZR), a global leader in automotive lidar hardware and software technology.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I believe in the importance of building relationships, having close rapport with founders, and being involved in the development and growth of their firms. It also gives me immense satisfaction to witness the personal growth of entrepreneurs and founders who we work with through the years. In other words, we are partners for the long term.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

I started Crescent Cove in 2016, and the biggest challenge was building and establishing the credibility of my firm and at the same time, convincing potential investors that what I was doing would work. Similar to the experiences a lot of our founders go through, I had to spend a lot of time educating investors on the untapped opportunity in the market. At the same time, I was new to the Bay area, having just relocated from Hong Kong. However, I was determined not to be just another tech investor but a true partner for founders, someone who could help navigate the ups and downs of their growth journey. It was a daunting endeavor, but I was committed to my vision.

Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

There are many challenges when starting a company; some are anticipated, and some are unforeseen. I learnt early that you must be able to reflect on yourself and on the journey. When things get tough or uncertain, I would take a step back, pause and look at the larger picture: the successes and the disappointments, my vision and mission. It helped me gain perspective that whatever challenge I was navigating was a small part of the larger journey and probably surmountable. So, I got going.

So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

In the last five years, we have launched multiple funds investing in both debt and equity. Currently, we manage more than $600 million in assets and have completed more than 30 investments. More importantly, we have backed multiple successful founders with some of them truly making a difference in the world.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We are a founder-led technology focused investment firm. This mindset fundamentally shapes how we approach investing. We are not passive capital, nor do we merely provide a capital solution; we see ourselves as a resource that founders can rely on at any stage of growth. Our team has a wide range of expertise across the growth cycle, allowing us to create an innovative structure to support and to protect founders. One of our most successful investments has been in Luminar Technologies, a global leader in automotive lidar hardware and software technology that was listed on Nasdaq in December 2020. We made our first equity investment in Luminar back in 2017 when they were still in stealth mode and subsequently, invested incremental equity and debt up till the listing. We acted as a resource and worked with the company on capital markets expertise, hiring executive level talent, and other strategic initiatives. To date, I remain involved through my seat on the Board. It has been a pleasure supporting Austin’s personal journey as well as Luminar’s incredible growth.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My wife. I came to the U.S. as an undergraduate at Michigan. After a few years working in New York, I headed back to Asia to be closer to family and friends. However, I found that I missed the camaraderie with principals of U.S. private companies and working collaboratively to grow their business. This prompted me to think about starting my own firm, and fortunately for me I had my wife’s support — especially since it would require leaving Asia and setting up a new home in San Francisco. Even as my wife grew up in the Bay area, moving here was a milestone in starting Crescent Cove and having her presence and support gave me the confidence to move ahead.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

First, achieving your vision in starting a company takes a lot longer than you think! Patience is important.

Second, the type of people you can attract and hire in your first year of business is very different from those in your fifth year. The pool of candidates will improve and grow, and you will realize that different people are effective at different stages of the company’s growth. You will likely have to make some hard decisions when balancing your team and finding the right people to help continue the growth — but that is okay; it is a natural part of the process.

Third, you must acknowledge and celebrate your wins. When working with a team of people, I found highlighting our progress or success is important for team morale. I am not a natural “cheerleader,” but I have realized it’s important to build team cohesion and supporting the vision and mission of Crescent Cove.

Fourth, empathy is important. As a founder who supports other founders, I feel personally involved in terms of the work I do. I want the founders we work with to know that I have been through many of the same learning curves, the challenges, non-believers, and the disappointments. Often, one’s vision is all that there is and alone, the founder must overcome the doubts, the uncertainty and regardless, chin up and execute the plan.

Lastly, it might be surprising but some of your vision’s biggest detractors will be closest to you. The inverse is true as well: your biggest supporters might be totally unexpected. So always keep an open mind and try not to have any prejudice about talking to people about your business.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I am mostly active on my LinkedIn page.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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