Business & Technology

Naval Ravikant

He turns idle Chinese savings into rocket fuel for U.S. entrepreneurs.

Founder and CEO, AngelList

China’s countless scrimpers and savers now collectively sit on a massive pile of money: $21 trillion, by one recent count, exceeding the entire annual GDP of the United States. Some of that cash is looking for a better return than a Chinese bank account, or the country’s historically unruly stock market, can provide; Naval Ravikant is helping summon it to Silicon Valley. In October 2015, AngelList, a San Francisco-based crowd-funding platform that Ravikant founded, announced that a Chinese investor had agreed to pump $400 million into young start-ups through the platform. The Wall Street Journal called it the “largest single pool of funds devoted to early-stage startups — ever.”

Ravikant says Chinese investors offered him even more money, but AngelList could only absorb so much at once. It may have to enlarge its proverbial metabolism; Chinese counterpart CSC Venture Capital, the U.S. arm of a Chinese investment group, has more cash to deploy, as does China’s ever richer, increasingly restless middle class. That’s good news for U.S. founders looking to create the next big thing. In August, Ravikant told blog TechCrunch that Chinese investors had an “absurd” amount of their own money to lodge stateside and were more willing to take risks than their U.S. counterparts. “In China, it’s, ‘I’m an entrepreneur. I took my company public. This looks innovative. Let’s try it.’”

(Photo credit: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch)

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