Newly Formed 1955 Capital Launches With First Close of $200 Million

Andrew Chung, founder of 1955 Capital and former partner at Khosla Ventures, will invest in technologies that can solve pressing challenges in China and developing countries

Feb 24, 2016, 07:30 ET from 1955 Capital

LOS ALTOS, Calif., Feb. 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- 1955 Capital announced the launch of its venture capital firm with an initial close on $200 million in anchor commitments, exceeding its initial target and making it one of the largest first-time independent venture firm launches in recent years. The firm will invest in technologies developed in the Americas and Europe that can help solve the developing world's greatest challenges in areas like energy, food, agriculture, health, education and sustainable manufacturing. 1955 Capital is founded and managed by Andrew Chung, a former partner at Khosla Ventures, with extensive experience and success investing in these sectors and commercializing numerous technologies in China and other regions.

"We believe that China, India, and other developing countries face fundamental challenges that put the future of their societies at risk and place severe pressure on governments and business leaders for solutions," said Chung. "We founded 1955 Capital because we believe disruptive technology is critical to solving these issues and can help bring nations closer together by matching the ingenuity of the West with the growing survival-driven demands of the East. For U.S. technology companies, direct access to these large and explosive end-markets will help accelerate technology commercialization, create jobs, and foster partnerships that will support their long-term growth and development."

Chung explained that the name for 1955 Capital is a nod to a year when one generation of revolutionaries passed the torch to another. It marked the passing of revolutionaries like Albert Einstein, biologist, Alexander Fleming and jazz legend, Charlie Parker. It was also the year that innovators including Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Vinod Khosla -- Chung's former partner -- were born. By acknowledging such a landmark year, Chung said he is intent on bringing that kind of innovative thinking to 1955 Capital, and creating a venture capital firm that will look at underserved sectors and take a cross-border investing approach that may run contrary to the status quo or the U.S. focus preferred by most firms here.

The technologies 1955 Capital will invest in may have already achieved some success in the developed world, but may not yet have been introduced to developing countries. Others may be newer technologies that have a stronger initial fit outside of North America due to more intense demand, stronger regulatory support, or greater availability of capital and resources for such products or services abroad. By working closely with both types of portfolio companies to build productive relationships with strategic partners in China, Southeast Asia and Africa, 1955 Capital will seek to give its entrepreneurs a chance to commercialize high-impact technologies in these markets first, then take their breakthroughs to the rest of the world.

"By taking a more collaborative and solutions-oriented approach, I believe this will create the added benefit of more productive partnerships and stronger political and diplomatic ties between the U.S. and China and other countries," pointed out Chung.  "I've seen firsthand how this model can be successful in prior portfolio companies like LanzaTech and Ecomotors, where American technologies had the potential to solve major American environmental challenges and create American jobs, but benefited from strategic support and capital from partners in China."

Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech, developer of a technology that can convert polluting gas from steel mills and industrial factories into valuable fuels and chemicals, noted, "After launching pilot projects in China that were fully funded by local steel manufacturers, LanzaTech has since raised an oversubscribed round of over $100 million and secured partnerships with global players like Mitsui, SK, Siemens, and Arcelor Mittal. Andrew was instrumental in helping us avoid a more difficult path to commercialization by working with us to build trusted partnerships and business in China that now allows us to apply our technology to solve similar issues and create jobs back in the U.S. and other parts of the world."

Chung joined Khosla Ventures in 2011 as one of six partners who managed the firm. He led Khosla's China activities, and worked with many portfolio companies to develop successful models for U.S.-China collaboration, leading to several hundred million dollars in ex-U.S. investment to date. He served as a board member on many of Khosla Ventures' portfolio companies, including LanzaTech, Ecomotors, BioConsortia, Cogenra, Pellion, and Wattpad. Prior to Khosla Ventures, Andrew was at Lightspeed Ventures, where he helped build the firm's cleantech and genomics practices, and represented the firm on the boards of Solazyme, Natera, LS9, Orbis Education, and Personalis.

Chung is a well-known voice in sustainable technology and U.S.-China collaboration, sharing best practices as a keynote speaker at venues like the White House, Swiss Economic Forum, Asian Venture Capital Journal Forum, Cleantech Venture Forum, Economist Innovation Summit, and Cleantech Investment World Asia. A fluent Mandarin and Cantonese speaker, Chung was invited to join the historic 2015 U.S.-China Presidential trade mission led by the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, and has worked with leading nonprofits like the Paulson Institute on issues around cross-border finance and partnership.

For more information, visit http://www.1955.capital or follow on Twitter at @1955capital or @achung.

About 1955 Capital

1955 Capital was founded in the Fall of 2015 by Andrew Chung to invest in companies in the Americas and Europe that can address the developing world's most pressing challenges related to energy, healthcare, food, agriculture, education and sustainable manufacturing. With over a decade of experience investing in these sectors at leading global firms like Khosla Ventures and Lightspeed Ventures, Chung has experience in identifying technologies with significant impact potential in China and other developing countries, and support entrepreneurs in developing mutually productive partnerships. The firm is based in Los Altos, California. More information is available at www.1955.capital.  

Media Contact:
Ally Dameshghi
1955 Capital
Email: ally@1955capital.com
Phone: 650-464-4438

This press release is for information purposes only and is issued by 1955 Capital to members of the financial press and media and the information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities.

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