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為夢想添翼 Giving Wings to Dreams

发布日期:2022-05-25 17:26
為夢想添翼──劉小鷹化身天使投資人扶植創業後輩
劉小鷹取英文名Steve,訪問開首,筆者好奇的問,這跟Steve Jobs可有關係?他笑說,純屬巧合,自己中學時已叫Steve,但喬布斯的確是他偶像之一。
1993年,劉小鷹憑二十萬港元創業,取得諾基亞在中國市場第一個全國總代理權。九十年代的諾基亞,勢同今日的iPhone,幾乎人手一部。憑着年年翻倍的銷售業績,2000年他將公司上市,成為中國長遠的主席。「那十年算是踏中移動通訊的大浪。賣一部諾基亞8810可以賺到一千元。」
2009年是手機市場的轉捩點,智能電話完成了移動通訊史的朝代更迭,傳統手機自此成為明日黃花。「諾基亞開始走下坡 。倉庫裏每到月底,至少十億手機庫存,每個型號時刻面臨降價風險,我每天都提心吊膽。」
更令劉小鷹心有不甘的是,當年每天着急賣貨清庫存的他,錯過了2000年代的互聯網浪潮:「2000年,馬雲開始在互聯網和電子商貿上大展拳腳,而我同期只顧埋頭苦幹賣手機,拒絕了馬雲在富麗華酒店的A輪融資。」」
但劉小鷹並未就此被科技的浪潮淹沒,反而在2011年,他看準掀起的第三股潮流──移動互聯網,翌年於內地成立「老鷹基金」,由企業家轉身化為天使投資人,扶植年輕人在移動互聯網範疇的創業。
「我年紀大了,要重新再創業,在知識、體力、時間上都不允許。反而透過天使投資,我可以結交很多年輕朋友,幫助他們創業,成為他們的股東,做他們的導師,用累積的經驗幫助他們少走彎路。」
「老鷹基金」過去四年投資了近一百家初創公司,總投資額超過二億元人民幣,項目存活率超過90%。「其中一家叫『影譜科技』,投了三年,升值超過一百倍,專做視頻的後期廣告植入。當你在線觀看電視電影,會看到一些拍攝時根本不存在的道具,譬如馬路上多了一輛跑車,餐桌上多了一瓶紅酒,都是實時地植入畫面的廣告,完全不知不覺。」
至於哪類人適合當天使投資者,他形容要符合三大條件:「首先得有不怕輸的心態,把錢投進去,輸了便輸了,初創者不會有錢賠給你;其次要喜歡創業的過程,享受高風險高回報的生意模式;第三,對科技有興趣,願意學,看得懂聽得懂,否則連自己投資的是甚麼都不清楚。」
劉小鷹擅長將投資心得整理成系統條目,並樂於公諸同好。搜索他的名字,輕易能找到他總結的「天使投資的11式如來神掌」,或「看趨勢、看項目、看人1234法則」。
他預言天使投資的潮流很快會蔓延到香港。「香港有錢人很多,可現在地產和股票都不景氣,即使有錢也不知該投到哪裏。我未來計劃回香港成立天使基金,幫助香港的投資人和創業者轉型,讓投資人有渠道投資初創企業,而創業者可以在我幫助下打開內地市場。」
「我的理想是用三十年時間,成就一千個創業項目。只要每年投資三十三間公司,三十年就有九百九十九間了。」他將這計劃命名為「一千個夢想的天使」。
第二個一千的理想,和母校中大有關。「我想學習朱敬文先生的助學精神,未來扶助一千個基層學生出國留學。」
「做好這兩個一千,我覺得已經很夠。」五十而知天命的劉小鷹說:「人生經歷了起起伏伏,中間雖然受過挫折,但來到現階段,眼前的路向已非常清晰。我的理想,已不是做超級富豪,而是成為超級天使!」


Giving Wings to Dreams: Steve Lau morphs into an angel investor to empower young startups

Lau Siu-ying is known to his friends as Steve. When asked whether his English name was inspired by Steve Jobs, he explained it was a mere coincidence that he has been calling himself Steve since his secondary school days. However, it is true that Steve Jobs remains one of his most-admired idols.  
In 1993, Steve started a business with HK$200,000 and became the first person to secure the nationwide distribution rights for Nokia products in the mainland Chinese market. Back in the nineties, Nokia handsets were all the rage, much like the iPhones today, where everybody seems to have one in hand. With sales doubling year after year, he took his company public in 2000, which made him the Chairman of China Fortune Holdings Limited. ‘We were riding on a megatrend of mobile telecommunications in that decade. For every Nokia 8810 we sold, we earned a thousand dollars.’
2009 marked a turning point for the cellphone market. The advent of smartphones opened a new chapter in mobile telecommunications history and since then, traditional handsets were fast losing their popularity. ‘Nokia started going downhill. At the end of each month, we had at least 10 million handsets in the warehouse left unsold. Every model was subject to the risk of price devaluation and I was constantly on tenterhooks.’
What made Steve even more disgruntled was that he was in a hurry to clear the inventory every day and missed out on the Internet craze in the early 2000s. ‘In year 2000, when Jack Ma started making forays into the Internet and e-commerce business, I only cared about disposing the remaining handsets in my inventory. I turned down the opportunity of Series A Financing offered by Jack Ma at Furama Hotel.’
Steve did not let the tech craze pass him by. In 2011, he set his sights on the third megatrend—Mobile Internet—and established the Eagles Fund in the mainland the following year. He was transformed from an entrepreneur to an angel investor, dedicated to helping young people to start an Internet-related business.
‘As I get older, it has become tougher for me to start another business due to my limitations in knowledge, physical energy and time. Rather, through my role in angel investing, I can get to know many young people, help them set up their businesses, become their shareholders, provide them with mentorship and use my experience to help them avoid unnecessary detours on the entrepreneurial path.’    
Over the past four years, his Eagles Fund has helped finance close to a hundred start-ups; the overall sum invested exceeded RMB200 million and the project survival rate was more than 90%. ‘One of the startups is called Moviebook. We have invested in it for three years and its value has gone up a hundredfold since. It specializes in post-production product placement for videos. When you watch a TV programme or movie online, you might have come across certain props that were actually never there during filming. For example, a sports car or bottle of wine might have been added in on the road or atop the table. These products have been integrated into the show, without anybody knowing.’
Elaborating on the three key attributes that make an angel investor, he said: ‘First of all, you must not be afraid to lose. Once you have invested your money, be prepared to accept losses as losses. Startups do not have the money to pay you back. Secondly, you must enjoy the entrepreneurial process, along with a high-risk, high-returns business mode. Thirdly, you must possess an interest in technology, be willing to learn and understand what you see and hear. Otherwise, you would not even know what you have invested in.’
Steve is adept at organizing his investment insights systematically and shares them with like-minded people. Goggle his name and you can easily find his writings on the web, like ‘The Eleven Techniques of Angel Investing’ and ‘Principles of Evaluating Trends, Projects and People.’
He predicts that the angel investing trend will reach Hong Kong soon. ‘There are many wealthy people in Hong Kong. But the real-estate and stock markets are in a downturn now. Even if they have the money, they do not know where to put it. I plan to return to Hong Kong and set up an Angel Fund, so that investors could have the right channels to invest in startups and budding entrepreneurs could break into the China market with my assistance.’    
‘It is my vision to spend 30 years to accomplish 1,000 startup projects. I only have to invest in 33 companies each year and there will be 999 in three decades.’ He labels this plan as ‘The Angel with a Thousand Dreams.’
His second ‘1,000 Dreams’ vision is related to his alma mater, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. ‘I want to emulate Mr. C. W. Chu’s spirit of education sponsorship and help 1,000 grassroots students to pursue further education abroad.’  
‘Achieving these two ‘1,000 Dreams’ visions is quite enough for me,’ the 50-year-old Steve said. ‘I have gone through several ups and downs in life. Although I have experienced my fair share of defeats, the path ahead of me is abundantly clear at this stage of my life. My ultimate dream is not to be a super-rich tycoon, but a superb angel investor.’  
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