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Yale Grad Named World's No. 1 Venture Capital Investor

Yale alumnus Neil Shen spoke with Dean Edward A. Snyder at the Global Network for Advanced Management Fifth Anniversary Symposium in New Haven last April.
Yale alumnus Neil Shen spoke with Dean Edward A. Snyder at the Global Network for Advanced Management Fifth Anniversary Symposium in New Haven last April. Photo Credit: Provided/ Yale

Yale alumnus Neil Shen, founding and managing partner of Sequoia China and a prominent supporter of Yale School of Management, is the top venture capital investor on earth, according to Forbes magazine.

The magazine put Shen at the top of its 2018 Midas List, which ranks investors based on all exits (IPOs or acquisitions) above $200 million and private companies valued at $400 million or more over the last five years.

Ranked 11th on the Midas List last year, Shen’s ascent to the top of the 2018 Midas List marks a milestone—the first time that a Chinese national has hit the top of the list.

Shen is a member of the Yale SOM Board of Advisors and the chair of the advisory committee of Yale Center Beijing. Under Shen’s leadership, Sequoia China made early investments in the mobile internet field a decade ago, becoming one of the major investors of Toutiao, Meituan-Dianping, and Didi which are among the top 10 companies driving the 2018 Midas List. Sequoia China also invested successfully in Alibaba and JD.com, the dronemaker DJI, and the media company Sina, among other fast-growing companies.

“I would not be where I am today in terms of my career accomplishments and my entrepreneur endeavors if it wasn’t for the education I received at Yale,” Shen said. “I am also grateful to the leadership at Yale, especially to President (Peter) Salovey— his vision and strategic moves in setting up the Yale Beijing Center, along with his other China related efforts, will have a long lasting impact on Yale as well as in China.”

A graduate of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, where he got a degree in applied mathematics, Shen received his master’s degree from Yale University.

An active Yale graduate, Shen was a driving force behind the creation of Yale Center Beijing, a hub for the university’s activities in China, in 2014. Since 2016, Sequoia China, Yale SOM, and Yale Center Beijing have collaborated on the Yale SOM-Sequoia Leadership Program, a one-year program for Sequoia China portfolio companies’ CEOs and founders.

Last year, Shen made a substantial gift to support the creation of the Yale China Fund for Emotional Intelligence, to be housed at Yale Center Beijing.

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