Before joining SoftBank Investment Advisers, Cecilia was an executive director in Goldman Sachs’ Asian Special Situations Group, covering growth equity investment in China. She began her career as an investment banking analyst with China International Capital Corporation, followed by several years as an associate director with UBS. She graduated with a bachelor of business administration from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
How did you first become interested in technology investment?
I started my career in banking in the late 2000s and helped a lot of Chinese technology companies go public, during a time when China’s internet was transitioning from PC to mobile. I witnessed first hand the emergence of many interesting Chinese companies that were at the forefront of global innovation. That experience sparked my passion for technology investment and led me to pursue an MBA at Wharton, where I spent a semester in San Francisco learning about technology and entrepreneurship. I have been an investor in China for more than seven years, since graduating from Wharton, and am still continuously inspired by the visionary entrepreneurs I meet in the technology space and the positive impact they are creating.
What attracted you to the Vision Fund opportunity?
SoftBank Vision Fund’s mission to partner with extraordinary entrepreneurs to build lasting companies truly resonates with me. Moreover, Masa is highly respected by many entrepreneurs in China. When I learned about the chance to join the SoftBank Vision Fund China team, I saw it as a great opportunity, as I would be able to help entrepreneurs at a much deeper level. Here, we have the capital combined with a global ecosystem designed to help companies accelerate their growth and amplify their vision. We aim to be the long-term partners of our portfolio companies.
Do you have any personal philosophies that guide you in your career?
I always try to maintain my intellectual curiosity and independent thinking as an investor. Such philosophies have been driving me to seek the truth and identify the best-in-class companies. At SoftBank Vision Fund, I meet new companies with innovative business models and advanced technologies almost on a daily basis. It’s important to be open to new ideas, ask probing questions to understand them, and conduct deep research to build conviction. The market has its ups and downs, but staying true to myself has guided me to make the best investment decisions along the way.
What do you consider your biggest professional accomplishment?
Providing capital and support to founders that helps them build businesses that make the world a better place. Through Vision Fund 2, I invested in a number of companies that leverage technology to disrupt traditional industries and create a meaningful impact on the world—from edtech that bridges education inequalities to agricultural technology that enables automated farming to online fitness that brings healthy lifestyle to hundreds of millions of Chinese. Whenever I invest in companies that have a positive impact like that, I feel accomplished and happy.
How does your family play a role in your work?
Working in the fast-paced technology investing means a busy schedule and frequent traveling. My family has always been incredibly supportive, and I am very grateful for everything they have done for me. I have two kids, and my 9-year-old daughter is almost like a tester and advocate for some of my investments. One of the sectors I cover at SBIA is China edtech, and my daughter tries out the products of different companies and lets me know her feedback. It’s funny, she’s almost doing due diligence for me. During this process, I also see how quickly the younger generation learn and adapt to new technologies, and this in turn motivates me to discover and invest in more innovative businesses.