New Enterprise Associates founder Dick Kramlich, one of Silicon Valley’s most veteran venture capitalists, will move to Shanghai for a year to boost his firm’s profile in China, a firm spokeswoman confirmed.
“My daughter calls it 'senior year abroad,'” the 72-year old Kramlich told the Wall Street Journal. Kramlich, who will make the move with his family in January, also told the newspaper his firm is considering raising a fund denominated in Chinese yuan.
NEA has invested in China since 2000, and currently employs seven local professionals in its Beijing office. NEA has spent $300 million (€205 million) in some 15 Chinese companies, including several semiconductor manufacturers.
According to a report by Swiss advisory firm Strategic Capital Management, last year venture capital firms raised more than six times as much capital for Asia as they deployed. SCM attributed this to a lack of capable fund managers in the region.
Many venture firms now have China offices or affilates, including Redpoint Capital, Sequoia Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and BlueRun Ventures. But NEA will the first major Silicon Valley firm to send a founder to the country.
Kramlich is a Silicon Valley icon. He was the first person to invest in Ethernet technology, and backed the company that developed PowerPoint presentations. Before founding NEA in 1978, he was a general partner at Arthur Rock & Associates, a firm that invested in Intel and Apple.