For Cai Wei, the most routine and smooth career path after graduating from a chemistry major is to join in a well-known chemicals giant and engage in research and development. However, the strong interest in investment finally landed him in the venture capital industry where he found dreams, fun and excitement from early-stage investment.
To achieve the goal of being an investor, Wei developed a complete plan to build up the skills the career needs. “At that time, I have just a simple idea. If I want the change, I need a ticket, so I spent two years on a full-time MBA program and did interns in big firms such as Temasek to prepare myself for the change.”
Wei decided to join Lightspeed in 2021. He deemed it as a right decision because of “the culture of transparency and share.”
“Investment to a large extent relies on the level of know-how. How to discover opportunities earlier and better than others require a deeper cognition. I think the biggest advantage of Lightspeed is the global platform where different angles of know-how are presented and we can share and discuss them transparently, finally form more accurate and clear judgment on the start-up companies,” Wei says.
With 13 years of venture capital experience and 8 years of industry experience, Wei focuses on investment opportunities in multiple sectors including semiconductor, cloud computing, AI application and frontier technology. His key investments include Cambricon (688256.SH), Goldwind(2208.HK), Tsingtel(acquired by Weichai Power, 000338.SZ), Black Sesame, ViewTrix, Phytium, LuxCreo, Konux, Optibus, Greenwaves and Imagia.
Prior to joining Lightspeed, Wei worked as Investment General Manager at Wu Capital. Before that, he worked as Investment Director at Alibaba Group for 4 years, responsible for the group’s early-stage technology investment and strategic investment on deep tech and cloud computing. Prior to Alibaba, he works as Investment Vice President at Northern Light Venture Capital for 4 years where he focused on advanced technology investment. Prior to Alibaba, Wei worked as Investment Vice President at VantagePoint Venture Partners, responsible for clean technology investment. He also has industry operation experience at SINOPEC where he played various leading roles in R&D, human resources and corporate strategy.
Wei received a B.S. in Chemistry from Lanzhou University and an MBA from Tsinghua University, cooperated with MIT Sloan School of Management.
Thanks to his father who bestowed him plenty of space to try new things, Wei developed multiple hobbies, from calligraphy to street dancing. But now his favorite leisure activity is scuba diving.
“Diving actually has a lot of reference to my investment career. The underwater world is completely different from the ground, which will give you a new perspective. When judging projects, we also need different dimensions. Diving is also a teamwork. You must fully trust your instructors and buddies because you may have to face the life danger together. I hope to build this sense of trust with my colleagues and the entrepreneurs. More importantly, diving requires inner peace. You may fail to get the expected experience due to complicated weather and currents. Therefore, we need to maintain a mindset that is not pleased by external gains and not saddened by personal loss. With a balanced view of the investment process, I believe, as long as you are in the right direction, you will get a good result in the end.”