The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Melissa Ma, Baidu
Melissa Ma, the wife of China-based search engine provider Baidu founder Robin Li, is now head of corporate venturing at the firm having rejoined the firm about a year ago to help act as a self-proclaimed “big sister” to its development and improve the odds of its bet on artificial intelligence (AI).
This came just after Baidu towards the end of 2016 hired Qi Lu as chief operating officer who focused efforts on its core search engine’s mobile strategy and developing its AI strategy as effectively an engine inside everything, including through corporate venturing. Baidu has since her return shaken up its teams with the departure of Peter Fang, GCV Powerlist winner last year, and has set up a host of corporate venturing initiatives at the earlier and later stage, including Baidu Capital, Baidu Ventures and, most recently, a $500m growth-stage fund called Changcheng Investment Partners to back internet and AI technology developers.
These funds marry a mix of financial and strategic returns and insidiers said had a handful of external limited partners in each to leverage resources.
For Changcheng, Li Xinzhe, Baidu’s former chief financial officer, will run the fund as chief executive, while Jennifer Li and Jenny Wu run Baidu Capital and Baidu Ventures, respectively.
Although it has not invested as frequently as Tencent or as extravagantly as Alibaba, its other chief rival in China’s internet space, Baidu has been an increasingly frequent participant in venture capital, particularly in the AI and autonomous driving sectors.
Formed with $200m, Baidu Ventures funds AI technology developers at seed to series B stage, while Baidu Capital, which concentrates on growth and late-stage deals, has more than $3bn of capital from which to invest.
Baidu’s most notable investments include Nio, the smart electric vehicle developer valued at $5bn as of November 2017, and on-demand ride service Uber China, for which it led a $1.2bn round in 2015 prior to its $7bn acquisition by Didi Chuxing.