9 - Rui Ma China startup investing at 500 startups & Rookie Fund - The Beertelligence Podcast

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“Why Finance?” “Basically because I was a shitty engineer”

Rui worked 4 years as the Partner for Greater China at an early stage investment fund called 500 Startups. She spent 3 of those years in Beijing and 1 year in Mountain View where the company has their headquarters.

Rui, pronounced like “Ray gun”, was born in rural China and we follow her career path as she went from China to San Francisco and back again, investing in startups, raising a new fund (maybe) and figuring out her next big thing.

Rui has always been interested in educational technology so we spend some time discussing the opportunities she’s looking for as she kicks off a non-profit called Rookie Fund, which is a student-run fund for investing in other student entrepreneurs in Asia.

She also shares a lot about her career decisions, motivations and life overall, like for example how she lost her fiancé and her job on the same day as she bought a new house in Shanghai. And how that ended up being one of best days in her life.

In this episode we discuss:
+ Changes in San Francisco after 10 years in China
+ Surviving the first dot com boom & bust
+ Failing Newtonian physics twice
+ The value of working with good mentors
+ Some good & bad advice she received about career guidance
+ Resisting FOMO – the fear of missing out
+ Benefits of experiential education “apprenticeship” over traditional education systems
+ The future outlook of cryptocurrency
+ Communication gaps in education
+ Using time off to focus her career before raising a new fund
+ Getting good & bad advice
+ How losing her job and fiancé on the same day was the worst day that eventually became the best day
+ RookieFund and how students can be trained to invest in other students
+ Working on confidence as a skill
+ The benefits & drawbacks of an executive MBA
+ How to develop a “Growth Mindset”

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD

The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane

Rookie Fund:

500 startups:


About Rui:
Rui on LinkedIn:

Rui on Twitter:


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