Why I joined Cathay Innovation

I am an optimist. The mantra that startups can “change the world” (for the better) has long motivated entrepreneurs and investors. What’s most exciting is from where this change is coming from.

While the global technology industry has been historically concentrated in one place — Silicon Valley — it is increasingly coming from everywhere. Remarkably, nearly 60% of unicorns have now come from outside the United States (and many of those from outside Silicon Valley!). This will likely increase further — Startupgenome estimates there are already nearly 500 startup hubs worldwide.

Therefore, both as a consequence and as a necessity, the future of venture capital will also be global.

That’s why I am excited to announce that I am joining Cathay Innovation as a Director in their San Francisco office. Cathay Innovation is a unique investment firm, with a global outlook and an incredible platform both in Silicon Valley and across the world. Most importantly, it is an organization that shares my values.

Cathay Innovation’s vision is to support entrepreneurs across the world, and to help build and scale their business. We believe that the best innovators can come from anywhere. So much so, that the firm has built itself around this concept. Our fund has a global mandate, and on-the-ground presences across North America, Europe and China. We are affiliated with Cathay Private Equity, itself a global private equity platform, managing over $2.5 billion, and with offices across San Francisco, New York, Paris, Munich, Tel Aviv, Shanghai and Beijing.

Cathay Innovation has created a network of corporate partners to support this vision. They span a range of industries, including from BNP Paribas, Michelin, Total, Valeo, among others. They collaborate with our portfolio companies and support our network. Through these partnerships, Cathay Innovation has developed deep industry experience in a range of sectors including financial services, mobility, energy, artificial intelligence, healthcare, and the future of commerce.

Perhaps the most important reason I joined Cathay Innovation was the sense of shared values that I feel. Cathay Innovation is routed in its focus on service to entrepreneurs, keeping a sense of humility, and consistency — doing what you say, and saying what you do. The firm is focused on supporting technology that matters now and for the next generation. These are engrained by its leadership, including Mingpo Cai, Cathay Capital’s Founder and President, and Denis Barrier, CEO and Co-Founder of Cathay Innovation.

This vision, values and approach to investing is not new to me. I’ve had the honor of spending the last five years working with Omidyar Network, the global philanthropic investment firm, founded by Pierre & Pam Omidyar. I had the privilege of supporting fabulous entrepreneurs building fintech, mobile and energy startups around the world.

I look forward to continuing to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs around the world. If you are an entrepreneur, raising an early growth round, looking to build technology that matters and share our global outlook, please don’t hesitate to reach me at alex.lazarow@cathayinnovation.com.

My new colleagues in our San Francisco office, from left to right: Alexandre Lazarow (me) Simon Wu Denis Barrier Costanza Carissimo.

Press release available here.