GMBA Students Gain Valuable Insights on Venture Capital and Emerging Technologies Trend from WI Harper Group and Alpha Ring Asia


撰文者/GMBA 辦公室、Wei Ling Chong

On May 8 2023, GMBA students from Global Entrepreneurial Finance: Venture Capital and Private Equity class had the opportunity to directly engage with WI Harper Group (WIH), a pioneer cross-border venture capital firm founded in 1993. WIH shared invaluable insights on emerging technology investment trends and market opportunities for venture capital (VCs). WIH graciously hosted us at one of its portfolio companies i.e., Alpha Ring Asia.

WIH has offices in San Francisco, Taipei, and Beijing, and invests in early-growth stage companies across the US, Greater China, and Asia Pacific. The group has invested in more than 400 companies with a focus on healthcare, biotech, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, fintech, sustainability, and new media. It currently oversees assets under management (AUM) of more than USD1B with more than 100 successful IPO and M&A exits, having backed notable names such as Creative Labs, Commerce One, Focus Media, etc.

Alpha Ring, a US-based company founded in 2015 operates offices and labs in the US and Taipei.  It strives to provide abundant, affordable, clean, and safe energy with its proprietary FusioNow™ technology – a cutting-edge aneutronic modular table-top fusion reactor powered by nuclear fusion.

Sean Peng, the Senior Partner at WIH shared with us the latest opportunities and prospects for VCs such as generative AI, autonomous driving industry, big data, robotics, quantum computer, sustainable development market, plastic economy, and hydrogen energy industry. He delved into the highly debated topic of ChatGPT, raising questions about the potential of AI to surpass human capabilities and whether humans still / will possess a distinct advantage over AI.  While no definitive conclusions were reached, Sean advised viewing ChatGPT as a tool to enhance efficiency to stay competitive rather than as a threat.

Furthermore, Calvin Liao, an Investment Team Associate from WIH provided an informative presentation on the cutting-edge technology that Alpha Ring is working on. A representative from Alpha Ring also conducted a guided laboratory tour, allowing the students to gain firsthand insights on the ongoing experiments conducted by Alpha Ring.

The 3-hour session concluded with an enlightening Q&A session with Sean Peng. Through his insightful responses, the students gained a valuable understanding of various aspects of VCs including how VCs generate value, navigate relationships with start-ups and their shareholders, manage portfolio companies and the key criteria VCs consider when evaluating investments in start-ups and when to exit it.