I had the opportunity to speak to Rachel Lau, a co-Founder and Managing Partner of RHL Ventures. RHL started out as a self-described hobby amongst three friends…investing their own money in transformational, early-stage companies. At some point, it started making sense to institutionalize the processes and structure and a GP/LP fund was born. There is also a private equity component to the fund that leverages off the same team and invests in the same Southeast Asia geography, but at a slightly larger size.
Rachel has a great sense of humor. When I asked her what she loved about investing, she noted, “That’s the only thing I know how to do…I only know how to make money.” To be fair, while we both chuckled, she was being serious. As you listen to this episode, you will hear some very well-developed thoughts and insights on a wide range of topics. I worked in the global investment business for almost 25 years and Rachel definitely impressed me. As she noted, her personality, including her natural curiosity and her ability to analyze new information, is perfectly suited to her chosen profession.
Rachel and I covered a lot of ground. We talked about the intersection of Venture Investing and Private Equity. We discussed the need to train the next generation of investment professionals, something about which Rachel sounds quite passionate. We touched on how the market for VC/PE investment has changed over the last five years. We also covered the ideas about what real returns should be and how to create a sustainable business.
One of my favorite quotes from our conversation…
“When your motivations are not pure, you do not build a great company or a sustainable business.”