US Innovation and Cross Border Opportunity, co-host with Berkeley SCET

  • Tag: cross-border, innovation
  • Speakers: Professor Ikhlaq Sidhu, Professor Weining Zhang, Rui Ma, Li Song, Michael Zhu, Olivia Wang
  • Time: Thursday, January 28th, 2021 8pm - 9pm New York
  • Location: Zoom

About the event

  • How can outside business people access the myriad opportunities in innovation in the United States, Silicon Valley, and beyond?
  • What is unique about the culture in US innovation ecosystems and what kind of norms are expected?
  • What kind of investment, partnership, and venture opportunities exist in the US and how can Chinese and other outside players best access these opportunities?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed by a panel of US-China business experts including Professor Weining Zhang, Professor at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business, Ikhlaq Sidu, Faculty Director of Berkeley SCET, Olivia Wang, Former Head of US at Zhen Fund, Michael Zhu, Founder and Managing Partner at Accathon Capital, Li Song, Managing Director Asia Link at Silicon Valley Bank and Rui Ma, Host of TechBuzz China.

The panel will discuss their experiences with the US and Chinese marketplaces and give their advice on how to navigate the US innovation ecosystem and access new opportunities in innovation.


Professor Ikhlaq Sidhu

Ikhlaq Sidhu is the founding faculty director and chief scientist of UC Berkeley’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. He received the IEOR Emerging Area Professor Award from his department at Berkeley. Ikhlaq Sidhu is an innovator with an industry background and the perspective of an academic.

He teaches, advises, and manages people to enable impactful and relevant innovation, which today demands a different kind of leadership.  From him, people learn how to create new things that are technically complex that will also actually have impact in the real world.

He is an innovator in the narrow sense (e.g. created 60+ patents, technology, and products) and he is an innovator in the broad sense (e.g. launched ventures, raised funds, founded organizations, led businesses, and navigated complex organizational challenges) within areas of data networking, telecommunications, and academics.

Sidhu is most known for bringing an industry perspective to academia. He founded the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology in 2005 and launched its many spin-offs programs. With Ken Singer, he co-created the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship (for students) and the Berkeley Method of Innovation Leadership (for existing companies). Both of these frameworks add concepts of social-psychology, mindset, and journey to the traditional steps of innovation. The spin-offs from his work at Berkeley include the GVL in 2008, the Fung Institute in 2009, the Engineering Leadership Professional Program in 2011, SkyDeck in 2012, the Innovation Collider in 2015, and Data-X in 2016.

Sidhu serves on several boards and advisory roles including Venture Advisor at Onset Ventures (a leading Silicon Valley investment firm), the Faculty Committee for Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, the Board of Trustees of the Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar, Fellow, Applied Innovation Institute, and the Faculty Director’s Council, Jacob’s Institute of Design at UC Berkeley.

Professor Weining Zhang

Dr. Zhang Weining is an Associate Professor at CKGSB. He received his Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2010. Before joining CKGSB in 2012, Dr. Zhang served as a faculty member at the Business School of National University of Singapore. His research interests include financial analyses, corporate disclosure, investor relationship management, corporate governance, internet platform business, and strategic financial management. He also works with Development Research Center of the State Council of China and Energy Fund of US on research projects.

Rui Ma

Rui Ma has fifteen years of experience in technology and finance, spanning seed stage to pre-IPO investing.  She is currently creator and host of the popular Tech Buzz China podcast, as well as an active investor in and advisor to multiple startups and funds.  She previously worked at 500 Startups as an investment partner, and spent a decade in private equity and mergers & acquisitions roles at the Raine Group, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch in both Silicon Valley and China. Rui holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley, a Masters in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, an Executive MBA from INSEAD and Tsinghua University and a Masters in Liberal Arts in Extension Studies from Harvard University.

Li Song

Li Song is managing director of SVB’s Asia Link, which promotes cross-border business solutions for entrepreneurs and investors in both China and the US. Based in the Bay Area, Li and his team identify and crystallize opportunities across the three largest innovation ecosystems (China, the US and Europe); their toolbox includes proprietary industry research, data-backed insights, value-added advice and tailored financial solutions. Li is passionate about putting his clients front and center — he thrives on identifying their unique challenges and connecting with his network around the globe to solve them.

Clearly, this intricate work requires not only someone who understands what it takes to excel at doing business in China, but who is also a long-time SVB insider with a deep understanding of all the ways the organization helps innovators move forward. As a native of China who has served SVB since 2000, Li’s got this! He first joined the bank as a portfolio manager and later served as director of SVB Analytics before leading the bank’s Global Credit team. Most recently, he served as senior advisor in the Trade Finance practice; in this role, he advised clients on complex international trade finance tools and strategies, growing the annual revenue for his book of business from $1 million to $7 million within six years — growth that attests to the tangible value that Li delivers to his clients.

Prior to joining SVB, Li was a global business liaison at the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC), an influential cabinet-level organization in China designated to set trade policy. Li also served as a global trade advisor for former Chinese president Jiang Zemin and former Prime Minister Li Peng on overseas state visits from 1994 to 1999. During this time, Li personally attended meetings with former US president Bill Clinton and more than 10 other state leaders from the Asia-Pacific region. Li holds a bachelor’s degree in English and business from Nankai University, Tianjin, China, and an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. He has also earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

A longtime resident of Palo Alto, Li constantly looks for ways to serve the Chinese community in his city and the Bay Area in his spare time. He attends and organizes events that help new immigrants better assimilate in the US and native-born Americans better understand China. He is also a devoted volunteer for junior golf development for minority youth in the Bay Area.

Michael Zhu

Michael Zhu is the Founder and Managing Partner of Accathon Capital, a cross-border accelerator for corporate innovation, running stage agnostic programs and VC investments in frontier technologies across a wide range of industries targeting the U.S. and China markets.

Michael also co-founded the first innovation hub focusing on “Tech & Culture” and global entrepreneur communities, Lair East. Michael is serving as the Advisory Board member in multiple startups and an advisor at the NYC Chinese Entrepreneur Organization. In 2018, Michael sits in the Host Committee of Accelerator Awesome, the first-ever accelerator conference connecting top innovation organizations such as Techstars, 500 Startups, Dreamit, SAP, Verizon, NUMA New York, Google, and more.

Olivia Wang

Olivia Wang, who founded ZhenFund’s U.S. office ($1.6B AUM, in partnership with Sequoia Capital China) and ran its cross-border investments for over five years, is continuing her work investing in early-stage companies in computational biology, healthcare, and tech. Her vision is to partner with exceptional, US-based founders and provide them with an unparalleled network and unique insights to global markets like Asia. Olivia’s early-stage investments include Synthego, Substack, Tagomi, Bolt Payments, Transcriptic/Strateos, Spring Discovery, Osaro, and Xtalpi (board observer). She was also a board member and early employee at Huobi, and the Chinese internet specialist at Credit Suisse in New York. Olivia graduated from John Hopkins University and Phillips Andover Academy. She was named one of Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30’ for venture capital.

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