Meet Luofei Deng
August 27, 2019 | Scott Murphy
We are pleased to welcome Luofei Deng (D’10) as Senior Associate for Green D Ventures, Alumni Ventures Group’s fund for Dartmouth alums. He brings an enthusiasm for venture and tech to this new role. We recently had a chance to catch up with Luofei on his industry experience, as well as his love of good BBQ and collecting vintage electronics.
What’s your connection to Dartmouth?
Tell us about your investment background. What roles did you hold prior to becoming Senior Associate of Green D Ventures?
Previous investing experience from three years spent at Tenaya Capital. Select investments I worked on include HubSpot, Bigcommerce, Health Catalyst, Smartling, and Sumo Logic.
What sparked your interest in venture investing and working for Green D Ventures?
Since coming across my first PC Magazine in middle school, I have always had an interest in technology. At school, I actually worked for Computing Services and penned a technology column for The Dartmouth — long live “Reboot and Rally”; I am forever grateful to my editor who came up with the name. After working in a few different jobs trying to apply my natural curiosity in new ventures, I have realized that investing is a good fit for my knowledge-base and personality.
Which trends are you most excited about in venture investing?
Caveat: there are so many exciting areas being developed today that it is hard to pick one or two.
However, as more technologies reach the point of ubiquity, I am excited for the creative freedom that will be unlocked in hardware design or perhaps make hardware imperceptible altogether. As the infrastructure behind cloud and edge computing, 5G wireless networks, and the Internet of Things (IoT) mature, there will be an opportunity to rethink how and why we interface with the devices we have. As a fan of tangible objects, I am excited to see what that exploration will unlock.
What are the three most important lessons you’ve learned on your VC journey?
Commitment. Sustained success in venture comes from commitment on all fronts. Committing to the companies to support them going forwards, committing to the founders and employees to do what is best for them, and committing to the asset class because there are no guarantees in venture unless you stop making investments.
Being early can be just the same as being wrong. Even the best ideas still need the right market and opportunity to be successful, and the path of most startups is littered with carcasses of those that have come before them. But great things can happen when the right product comes along at the right time.
Diversification. Constructing a portfolio of investments goes beyond assembling a collection of good companies, but should also take into account diversity across as many facets as possible: sector, stage, geography, riskiness, and return profile.
Which resources or sources of inspiration (podcasts, books, blogs, mentors, etc.) are most useful to you on a regular basis?
For industry news, I do not have any revelations beyond the typical tech news sites and email newsletters. However, if I wish to learn more about any area, I find Medium to be helpful to get an expert take from someone in the line of business.
On the personal side, I am a fan of the LGR channel on YouTube for vintage technology and electronics. It provides a frequent reminder than history may not always repeat itself, but it often rhymes. Finally, as I have tried to eat healthier over the years, I read a few junk food and fast food review sites (The Impulsive Buy, GrubGrade, Junk Banter, On Second Scoop) to live vicariously through the writers and so I can make better junk food decisions.
What else would you like to share about yourself?
In my spare time, I try to collect vintage electronics, so if anyone has a line on a good condition Sidekick (any generation), please reach out to me. I also enjoy waiting in line for good BBQ and trying to convince my wife that White Castle is an appropriate location for Valentine’s Day dinner.