hu hongtao, an old acquaintance of network security: the choice of apple capital

Posted by deaguero at 2020-03-16

"Today, I met a girl. I said she had no car and no room. She was about to turn around and leave. I said I was in a small business. There were 2000 8GB memory cards in the warehouse. She stopped immediately and said she would come home with me tonight." This is a recent online joke. The memory of crazy price increase has become the "best financial product of the year".

Hu Hongtao, the current leader of Apple capital, has also been hurt by "memory chip".

Hu started his first business in 2004. At that time, China's black industry was just emerging, and it was normal for China to earn 100000 yuan a day. Hu feels that he has good technology and should have a lot to do.

"At that time, it was very difficult to be safe, really have feelings and earn money. We started our business to raise funds. At that time, several partners foolishly went to a restaurant in Zhichun Road to meet the investors and talked with them for two hours. Later, the investors said to us, "if I can calculate the return after investing in you for five years, I'd better make more money by investing this money in my memory business." Hu Hongtao said.

This sentence pricked the beard. He asked himself three questions: is such a high-tech thing inferior to the business of two dealers? Do we have to do black production? Can't you just stand and make money? After Hu Hongtao founded Beijing Rongji network security, Beijing zhanyan technology and Beijing aipuyou, he founded Apple capital, which only invested in network security enterprises. It's said that's what he started the fund to look for answers to three questions.

On November 22, apple capital made a voice for the first time, disclosing the overall investment amount, average return rate, successful exit rate and other data of Apple Capital from the first phase to the third phase, and announced that in addition to the fourth phase of RMB fund in operation, it has launched phase I of us dollar fund and phase I of 1 billion scale growth project fund.

Did Hu answer the three questions?

A positive answer

Hu Hongtao thinks that the answer is yes, and what contributes to the answer is the performance of the invested enterprises.

Home guest channel learned that Apple capital is currently making three investments. In the first phase, security treasure, Internet fast bird, Qingsong and microroute were invested. In the second phase, we have invested in network, Hansi, Changting technology and zhizhangyi. In the third phase, the enterprises under investment include yunfatong, Hongzhi, zhizhangyi, Quanzhi technology, Zhixiang technology, jinbai'an, etc.

The data provided by Apple fund itself is that covering the seeds, angels and rounds a of these enterprises, it has achieved more than 80% success rate and more than 10 times average return rate.

In fact, what makes most money for Apple capital is the withdrawn security treasure.

The security treasure invested by the first phase of the fund has successively received millions of dollars in round a investment of Innovation workshop, tens of millions of dollars in round B investment of VC such as northern lights and EDBI, and round B + investment of bat company. In September 2014, Alibaba acquired the "broken shell" business product line of security treasure, and Wu Hanqing, who came from Alibaba, returned to Alibaba. In 2015, the company was wholly acquired by Baidu, and its CEO, Ma Jie, is now the general manager of Baidu's security business department. According to Apple capital, Apple has received nearly 100 times return.

The first phase of fastbird was also acquired by Baidu in 2014.

Thanks to his in-depth understanding of the network security industry, Hu Hongtao won Hansi and zhizhangyi.

When Apple Capital looked at zhizhangyi, Wang Wei, CEO of Apple capital, was not happy when he sought financing. Even if Wang Wei was the one who made the 360 mobile phone guard and successfully withdrew from 360 and started his own business again.

At that time, zhizhangyi was seen by many large investors in the market, but there are still several concerns: first, the technical barriers are not strong enough; second, the Chinese market is not big enough; third, the income of zhizhangyi at that time is 0, can we make money or not? Fourthly, there is no benchmarking in the foreign market. If there is a benchmarking, it means that this business has been successful in the United States and not far from success in China.

Whether Wang Wei can make a big business of to B in the mobile market or not, the investors are a little hesitant and dare not start.

Hansi, founded by Gao hanzhao, a veteran of trend technology for more than ten years, has encountered the same financing dilemma. "We will talk about how much we operate, how much we will do next year, how many we will do next year, and how many customers we will have," Gao told the channel in an interview

House guest channel once tracked and reported on Hansi and zhizhangyi. Not long ago, both of them announced new financing situation: zhizhangyi completed 150 million yuan of financing in round a + and Hansi took 100 million yuan of financing in round B. This year, both companies have plans to go to sea.

Interestingly, after Wang Wei got the financing from Apple capital earlier, he turned to invest his money in Apple Capital and became LP (limited partner) of Apple capital.

There are also some glittering enterprises in Apple's capital investment list, such as several League networks, which obtained round B financing, and Changting technology, which completed round a financing of tens of millions of RMB in June this year. According to the home guest channel, Zhixiang technology, which obtained round B financing led by the fund under the national development and Investment Corporation, this year.

Cut into the mature period of network security investment

Hu Hongtao is very happy, which proves his vision.

Who and who can see eye to eye, and cast into, retreat from, this is a profound knowledge.

On November 22, an important trend was also announced at the conference of Apple capital. Datai capital, which has been established for seven years, will join hands with apple capital to invest in the mature security enterprises, which is not a small change for Apple capital, which only cut in early before.

Datai capital has sophisticated investors. Why do you want to cooperate with Apple Capital? In fact, the logic of this is very simple. Network security is relatively a subdivision industry, with a strong professionalism.

Li Quansheng, the boss of Datai, said that when they want to enter the big data industry, they find professional fund partners in this field, and when they want to enter the manufacturing industry only, they find people. This time when they want to layout and support the network security of these industries, they find Apple Capital that only invests in network security.

Li Quansheng's demand is very simple, and it is also "can be seen, can be put in, can be withdrawn". But to achieve this goal, we still need to "focus".

"First, if you focus on the field, such as network security, you can have very good coverage and see the signs. Second, focus can help you better understand the project. If you have a high degree of focus in this industry, you can have good contacts and help the enterprises you invest in. These excellent entrepreneurs will also choose you. This is a two-way selection process. Third, focusing can help you better understand the development trend of the industry and have a better plan for the invested enterprises, including how to go to the capital market, IPO, M & A or what, and professional competence and basic resources to help the enterprises better plan. " Li Quansheng said.

Hu Hongtao said that at that time, he took a fancy to zhizhangyi because Apple capital made several analysis at that time.

For example, they compared the technical barriers of more than 30 foreign and more than 10 domestic companies in the same field from a technical point of view, and found that the technical barriers of fingertips are the highest and the compatibility is the best, which can adapt to all mobile phones. In addition, Wang Wei, the founder, was the first founder of 360 mobile phone guard. He had been working on mobile Internet for more than ten years before and could make the product technology the best.

It doesn't matter if there is no benchmarking in the foreign market. Hu judged that in the field of mobile Internet, such as mobile payment and mobile applications, the United States lags behind China, not to mention the field of enterprise mobility.

"The United States lags behind China in terms of application, and it is impossible to find unicorns in the United States. This thing must be made by China itself, and China must be ahead. In terms of market, we don't think it matters that the sales volume is 0. We look at the development trend and growth of an enterprise, not its absolute sales volume. " Hu Hongtao said.

Apple investors, including Hu Hongtao, have a set of investment logic:

First, have a deep understanding of the safety industry. Several partners have been in the security industry for nearly 20 years, and their knowledge of the industry has helped them to find business opportunities and find the right place to invest before the market burst.

Second, have a sensitive grasp of the market and policies. Although Apple capital only invests in the network security industry, it should be clear about eight plus two (eight industries mainly refer to telecommunications, environmental protection, health, public security and other major fields, and two refer to the government and the military) industries, including the current needs of these industries, changes in it construction, changes in security needs, how much and where the budget will be in the next year, and where the money will be spent.

Third, there are accurate development expectations for product technology. Security pays special attention to technology. When the basic software environment changes, technology will change with it. They divide technology into subversive technology innovation and transitional technology innovation. If they invest in transitional technology innovation, the project can be quickly replaced by other products, companies and technologies.

An interesting story is that Hu mentioned in the interview that sometimes in order to verify whether a certain technology works, apple capital will introduce a potential customer to the other party. If the cooperation fails, give another chance, or the cooperation fails, at least explain something.

Fourth, entrepreneurs will also choose funds in turn, so they will not only invest money, but also give them resources.

Although Hu repeatedly stressed in the speech that day that Apple Capital's investment style is less and more refined, cutting off many outlets, only doing the field of network security to B, and "doing a fund once a year or two, only serving five or six companies in a year or two", this does not mean that Apple capital does not want to make a lot of money.

Now, as we all know, the market and policy environment faced by network security is much better. It is also a good choice for Apple capital to cut in late stage investment and cooperate with Datai, who has mature capital operation experience.

Running in the US

Apple Capital's choice is more than that.

As mentioned earlier, they created the US dollar I fund. This means that they are going to the cyber security enclosure in the United States.

In the IT era, the main problem of network security is the security of PC and the margin of internal and external networks. The main solutions are the old three: Antivirus, firewall, IDS. Now entering the era of data, digital technology is the main way to solve many problems today, which will inevitably produce a lot of data, but how to ensure the flow of these data and generate value under the security situation?

Zhang Yunxia, a partner of Apple capital, thinks that the old three can't solve the current problem, and the challenge of network security is subversive.

"With the accelerated integration of AI, IOT and traditional industries, the world is basically divided into two poles, China and the United States, from now to several years in the future. In the age of Internet, China is closely following the United States. In the age of AI, China and the United States will drive side by side. Only the characteristics and market opportunities are different. 80% of the global AI papers are written by Chinese, and the main market should be in these two countries. " Zhang said.

After making clear where to go, Apple Capital chose an easier way to cut in - to find a partner in the US dollar fund. This is Chenxi Wang, the most influential woman in the US security industry in 2016. She was once the Strategic Officer of Intel, ciphercloud, twistlock and other companies, the investor of CLEARSKY security, an American investment company, and the consultant of ICO venture. She also invested in fire eye, Palo Alto networks and other network security companies.

"In the past few years, many security startups came from Israel, and there are many in the United States. The general prospect of these companies is to be acquired by large American companies, such as Symantec and Cisco. These companies are now buying startups at a slower rate because they are beginning to saturate. So, now our entrepreneurs in the United States are looking at the prospect of M & A if I am a startup. There are some in Europe, but there will be more M & A prospects in Asia, so I think there are mutual advantages in working with Asian funds. " Said Chenxi Wang.

Lei Feng understands that Chenxi Wang and Zhang Yunxia will work together to run Apple Capital's dollar fund. Currently, Chenxi Wang is optimistic about two investment directions in the United States: anti fraud technology and growth security.

Editor's note

Many people tell me that network security is a very small circle.

After talking with Hu Hongtao, Ma Jie, Wang Wei, Gao hanzhao, Jiang Tianyi (Zhixiang Technology), Yang Congan (Digital League Network), I feel that this is a circle of acquaintances.

The win-win situation of Apple Capital and security treasure starts from the origin of Hu Hongtao and Ma Jie. Hu Hongtao said that in fact, the first purpose of Apple capital is to invest in enterprises with good technology. Hu Hongtao, who has worked in this circle for 17 years, knows who is skilled. He started his business with acquaintances, such as Ma Jie and Hu Hongtao, who had been colleagues for some time.

Wang Wei was introduced to Hu Hongtao by a friend. After chatting, they finally found a friendly partner. "Know technology or not" is a very obvious boundary in the network security circle. Therefore, Hu Hongtao, who knows technology, has become a scarce resource in the investment field.

There are also many investment cases in Apple capital that have been introduced by friends and understood by each other. They make the "business of acquaintances" well done, and it is very convenient to not only invest money, but also exchange resources with each other.

But Hu has always drawn a line between himself and the invested enterprise: help not to make trouble.

Chenxi Wang deeply felt this: "I have created my own business, so I have experience in the relationship between investors and entrepreneurs. I think the relationship between you (editor's note: Apple Capital Partners) and entrepreneurs is really very good. It's hard to find such investors in the United States. There are not many investors who help you not to make trouble, many who give you money and don't help you. Go with you, or help and make trouble. Many of them want to help, but on the contrary, they make trouble, so I think it's very difficult to help investors who don't make trouble Yes. "

Hu Hongtao can be like a fish in water in the field of "understanding" by skilled talents. Maybe this is also a trick.


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