Associate Partner

Tao Yang

I need to understand a founder’s motivation for starting a business, which is the force and engine of their company.

Teamwork, leadership, strategy, and a never-give-up attitude: From the boardroom to the basketball court, Tao believes these are the keys to success.

Born and raised in Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, Tao’s curiosity has been fostered from a young age, the result of being immersed in nature and the different cultures of Yi and Han. His parents, native Yi, were committed to instilling Tao with honesty, responsibility, perseverance, and a pioneering spirit. Entrepreneurs, take note.

As a student at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Tao took his interest in ecommerce to the next level, starting an online sports store that sold jerseys and sneakers. That experience ignited within him a passion for startups and entrepreneurship. After graduation he immediately joined New Access Capital, focusing on early- and growth-stage investments in consumer and clean-tech sectors.

From there he joined ChinaRock Capital, then Ventech China, focusing on making investments in Internet, mobile, ecommerce, technology, and consumption sectors. This breadth of experience has made him a key player on the Lightspeed team, and he’s looking for equally motivated founders.

“I need to understand a founder’s motivation for starting a business, which is the force and engine of their company,” he says. “As a VC, I’m a dreamer. I dare to dream big with my imagination. I like to support companies in their very early stage, where they just have a team and an idea, because I like to ask myself, ‘what will the world look like if this idea becomes true?’ And I’m looking for founders who want to make an impact.”

Tao himself is committed to making an impact. He serves as the president of the YVCC (Young Venture Capitalist Club) Shanghai, and founded the charity organization Zhu Qing Ting, a foundation dedicated to improving children’s education in impoverished mountainous regions.

Investments