Ideamensch Interview with Andrew Chung, Founder of 1955 Capital

Andrew Chung is the founder and managing partner of 1955 Capital, a venture capital firm founded in 2017 to invest in and help promote companies that address the developing world’s most pressing challenges, especially as they relate to energy, healthcare, food, agriculture, education and sustainable manufacturing. Chung has more than 15 years of experience in investing, including stints at Khosla Ventures and Lightspeed. He has served on a White House roundtable on advanced manufacturing and has advised global leaders on energy policy. Chung has served on the board of or advised more than 20 companies.

Andrew Chung is also an accomplished singer and musician. Before pursuing a business career, he was a finalist on the “Hong Kong Idol” competition and turned down a recording contract with the top label in Asia. Chung is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He lives in northern California with his wife, Coral, a fashion designer and CEO of Senreve, and his daughter.

Where did the idea for 1955 Capital come from?

I believe that the only truly sustainable way to invest is by identifying breakthrough technologies that not only benefit the planet as a whole, but also generate significant financial returns for investors. Issues like climate change and food supply shortages affect billions of people around the globe. By investing in promising companies that are centered around these areas, we can not only help with people’s bottom lines but also help the planet along the way. It’s a powerful way of combining passion for investing with a passion for making the world better in the long-term as well. But you need market-beating returns to incentivize large-scale institutions to keep investing in the category.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

How do you bring ideas to life?

What’s one trend that excites you?

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Another habit is asking questions. Too many professionals and investors don’t like asking questions, because they worry it will give the impression that they don’t know what they’re doing. But the smartest people in the room got that way by always asking insightful questions about things they don’t fully understand. They stayed curious and humble enough to admit when their expertise fell short. That’s how you start filling in gaps in your understanding.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

At Lightspeed, we invested early in Nest Labs, Solazyme, SolarEdge, Quantumscape, Personalis, Natera — companies in beneficial sectors that had IPO and M&A exits or recent private rounds collectively at over $10 billion. At Khosla, we were early investors in Impossible Foods, Guardant Health, Lanzatech, among many others. With the current pandemic going on, the importance of these “essential” technologies that address critical human needs — like access to healthcare, sustainable food supply, clean energy — is more important than ever, and investors are recognizing that more and more.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

What is your favorite quote?

Key Learnings:

  • Chung’s diverse interests and focused work ethic help him find promising early-stage companies, compelling entrepreneurs, and world-changing ideas that match his VC firm’s investment goals.
  • Being exposed to entrepreneurship at a young age helped Chung to launch and advise companies before he was even out of college.

Originally published at https://ideamensch.com on June 15, 2020.

Founder of 1955 Capital, Inventing a New Global Future | ClimateTech Venture Capitalist based in San Francisco, CA | Learn More: https://andrewchung.com/