On this week's episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, meet Fika Ventures co-founder TX Zhuo. Fika is a $77-million seed-stage investment fund managed by Zhuo and his partner Eva Ho. The two created the fund with the intention to foster and give back to their community.
Zhuo has been working as an entrepreneur since he started college. Originally from Singapore, he left his family to attend school in the U.S. While getting his undergraduate degree, Zhuo shared that his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and only had six months to live. After he passed away, his family was left with an enormous medical debt, and Zhuo stepped up to support his family.
At the age of 20, Zhuo co-founded a startup selling textbooks online, working with Amazon and eBay. After three and a half years, Zhuo and his partner were able to scale the company to an $8 million run rate. They pair sold the company is 2007, and Zhuo used the money to help ease his family's debt and to return to school.
Zhuo went on to get an MBA from Stanford, and continued his work in investing. He was a core member of McKinsey's financial services team, then served as the CFO of Lit Motors — an EV startup. He also worked at the seed-stage venture fund Innovation Endeavors, before co-founding Karlin Ventures in 2012. After four years with Karlin Ventures, he joined forces with Eva Ho to co-found Fika Ventures.
Fika Ventures is currently focusing their investing on the collaboration between security teams (Infosec) and engineers. The fund also highlights the unique opportunities available to investors in L.A., especially those with a fintech or enterprise focus. Zhuo says their team is very collaborative, using blind votes to help decide where their funds will go.
TX shared insight into how he approaches investing, where and when he's willing to bet big on a startup, and what he sees as the future of venture capital. Hear more about his perspective on the relationship between L.A. and Silicon Valley, how he started Fika and his professional badminton career on this week's episode.
TX Zhuo is the co-founder of Fika Ventures.
"Whenever I feel stressed — and this applies to Fika as well — go back to what you've learned. Go back to templates, go back to your playbooks, go back to what was tried and test it." —TX Zhuo
dot.LA Engagement Intern Colleen Tufts contributed to this post.