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FUND MANAGEMENT

How to Start VC Funds in Hong Kong

October 2022

Andrew Macintosh

Hong Kong is home to a fast-growing asset and wealth management industry, due to a supportive government. Very recently, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, shared that the city had over US$190 billion of assets under management, ranking second in Asia behind mainland China. Hong Kong’s venture capital industry is part of its focus for development.

Are you interested in founding your own venture capital in Hong Kong? Read on to find tips for setting up one.


Build A Strong Foundation

Whether it's constructing infrastructure or establishing a business, having a strong foundation will assist you in how to set up, run and expand your business. Having a clear purpose, mission and vision will be the glue to keeping your diverse core team together. An authentic purpose and clear vision of how your VC fund will run in the future will also serve to make you stand out in the eyes of investors or entrepreneurs.

Still, no matter how attractive you may be, it is only when you have a sturdy track record and credibility would you be able to convince GPs and LPs to invest in your fund. A clear-cut investment thesis will be a tool that can assist you in acquiring the funding you need.


Pitch Smartly

So now that you have a strong foundation of your brand, what’s next?

In the fundraising process attracting investors is just the first step you need to be able to compel them to want to work with you in the foreseeable future. If you are as good in articulating your purpose, mission and vision then you should also be as capable in pitching the following:

  • Specialisation or sectoral strengths (e.g. FinTech, EdTech, HealthTech)

  • A well-defined investment thesis to the right audience

Venture capitals not only provide funding but can also provide the needed expertise a startup might need to have in order to expand. Having the right edge, network and reputation can be just as important as gaining funding. A considerable knowledge of the industry a startup is specialising in, and a hefty network in that industry to support them are attractive assets for gaining LPs or investors.

Just as startups need to have the right edge, in a competitive market like Hong Kong a VC fund must also be smart enough to deliver their pitch to the right audience. Just as there will always be the right people to do a job well done, there will always be investors who are more willing to fund your venture when you both have the same interests.


Cost-Conscious VC funds

Just as VC funding expects a return on investment (ROI), your investors will also expect a satisfactory share. Having a clear cut capital allocation scheme and a well-defined program to portfolio construction can help promote your proposed fee structure.

We have learned from the Singaporean firms that Lanturn has worked with, that the simplest approach is to apply the “2 and 20” rule. In this rule, 20% is carrying interest and 2% is a management fee. As most LPs are very cost-conscious, it would help that upon negotiation you are able to show them data to support your proposal.

It would be best to properly communicate your expectations in terms of fund performance and the assumption behind the fund model. Use industry benchmarks for similar funds or other types and compare your expectations against them. You can use the data gained from the industry benchmarks to provide comprehensive justification for your proposed fee structures.

It might help to provide special terms to early anchor LPs provided they are able to match an advantageous condition for your fund. This concept isn’t unlike how high paying customers are able to acquire VIP privileges. Be mindful of maintaining team commitment and GP-LP alignment as this would greatly assist you in running your VC fund in the long run.


Lanturn and fund services

Lanturn is a user experience-focused corporate and fund services provider. We have a rich client base in the asset management and VC Funds industry. With Lanturn’s years of experience in providing corporate and fund services to both micro VC funds and corporate venture capitals, we grew to be exposed to the actual life cycles and structures of various VC funds.

We know for a fact that VCs also have their own challenges in operation and set up. Two of the most common challenges are acquiring funds or capital within a certain time frame as well as sourcing deals. In Hong Kong, most VC firms take on the Limited Partnership fund structure with a General Partner (GP) and various Limited Partners (LP), although there are also a number of funds structured as open-ended fund companies (OFCs).

If you are interested in setting up in Singapore, here is a link to the article we made on Singapore’s new Variable Capital Company (VCC) bill.

Remember the part about specialisation? We at Lanturn can assist you with Lanturn’s expertise in fund formation and administration in Hong Kong, so you can concentrate on building up your portfolio to secure your LPs. Lanturn’s fund experts will be more than happy to assist you.

Here are more resources for aspiring fund managers in Hong Kong:

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