Jonathan Hung
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Jonathan Hung

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Managing Partner at Unicorn Venture Partners

Angel investor vs . Venture capitalist – Jonathan Hung

“You can’t take no for an answer. There’s just no way. You got to find a way to get to yes.”

ABOUT

Jonathan Hung is a transformative venture capital partner who believes in a bright future for businesses seeking to broaden their horizons in North America and Asia. One of the most active angel investors in Southern California, his mission is to drive value creation within each portfolio company. In support of this mission, he serves as Co-Managing Partner at – Unicorn Venture Partners – providing a hands-on approach to supporting companies by offering strategic expertise in operations management, finance, business development, multinational business strategy, entrepreneurship, networking, data analysis, and leadership.

Jonathan and his team target investments in US companies that have global market potential with a focus on long-term growth expansion to East Asian markets.

In addition to providing venture capital funding and advisory support, he also provides business mentorship based on his experience running U.S. and China offices as the President of United Overseas Textile Corporation. Jonathan was also a Managing Member for his family office fund, J Heart Ventures, which made investments in start-up companies such as Gyft, ChowNow, Miso Robotics, Clover Health, Bitmain, etc. He also leverages various degrees from the University of Southern California, London School of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jonathan believes that every start-up/portfolio company regardless of industry and size can take full advantage of his genuine approach to mentorship. Jonathan specializes in early-stage investing and the formation of strategic business partnerships. He invites connections with any professional who shares his passion for the technology and consumer market sector, entrepreneurship, and venture capital.

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THE FULL INTERVIEW

Jonathan Hung

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery:
All right, well, just in the fashion of how we like to do things, let’s just jump right in. So, uh welcome. Thank you very much for joining us today, Jonathan. We’re so excited to be able to chat with you and really dive into everything that’s going on in your world. And the best way for us to start is if you can give us a little bit of background on yourself, where you kind of come from, where you’re at, and where you’re looking to go. And then one thing about you that nobody will know

Jonathan:
Let’s see, um you know, I started becoming an angel investor back in 2012. It was just something I got really interested in. I have a background in investing in the public stock markets as a financial advisor and at the time I was running my family’s clothing company and I knew I wanted to catch the bug of just like getting into investing again and I’m in Los Angeles. So you hear about Silicon Beach and I wanted to learn more and more about that and I took my journey back in 2012. You know, since then I’ve done over 80 plus different deals from pre-seed to pre I. P. O. companies. You know some have worked out some haven’t, that’s okay, it’s the nature of the beast. I’ve been becoming LP in like 16 different funds throughout L. A. in Silicon Valley. Um, I start my own fund in 2018 with two really close friends. We don’t have outside capital, we just have money, our own money in it. And we look at really pre-seed, seed, and series A companies in the technology and consumer space are check sizes are anywhere from 100,000 to 50 initially. And at the same time I’m part of another company called Trousdale Ventures that my other partner starter, it’s a family office where we all contribute um money and, and our due diligence and skill set to look at deals that aren’t just pre-seed, seed and series A.

They could be like, you know, first check in all the way to like a pre I. P. O. Company where we could be putting like, you know, tens of twenties and millions of dollars in. Um let’s see something that not many people know about me. It’s always a good one. Well no one would really know that. Like I’m a two time Emmy winner, you know, which is funny because if you google my name, it will say that I’m a tv producer, which is so funny because like I’d actually rather be known as a venture capitalist, but you know, I M D B goes up in the search rankings and SEO

Jeffery:
That’s awesome. Two-time Emmy winner. This is awesome. I have to explain, give us a little bit more context of this. Emmy winning side of things

Jonathan:
One of my portfolio companies. She introduced me to a great and talented executive producer and creator and writer and director of a show called The BAY. So um you know, I helped finance it a little being a producer for the last three seasons. So I’m technically three-time nominee and two-time winner. I didn’t even realize I won this year until the they sent me like, hey you can buy your Emmy now

Jeffery:
Oh they don’t give you the Emmy?

Jonathan:
They give you only a certain number like one or two for like you know, but then everything that you have more than one producer to producer got to buy your own. That’s

Jeffery:
Really! But what’s the price tag on an Emmy?

Jonathan:
God, I think it’s like $500 or $600.

Jeffery:
Oh that’s (inaudible) I thought maybe 5 $600,000.

Jonathan:
No, no, no, that’s how much I invest right?

Jeffery:
So it’s not pure gold then.

Jonathan:
No. Plated.

Jeffery:
All right, fair enough, fair enough.

But it’s still probably has, it carries a bit of a moniker. It gets everybody excited when you share that.

Jonathan:
It’s interesting that people, people are more excited and interested in learning about that than like any of some of my investment companies.

Jeffery:
I guess in a way it has its carries its own nostalgia. There’s not very very few of them, I guess in the world that we’re aware of, that people have. When you win one compared to the amount of people out there, it’s got to be carried some weight. It’s gotta be, it’s like winning the Stanley cup or winning the Super Bowl. It’s not happening every week or every year, right?

Jonathan:
But it’s just it’s you’re you’re joining a great set of talented people and, you know, you’re just like, just like, you know, you’re investing in startups, you’re you’re investing someone’s dream and vision and you’re getting awarded for it. So, yeah, it’s it’s been a fun experience and we’ll see what the future holds the next investment.

Jeffery:
Yeah, no, that’s that’s pretty exciting, and again, something nobody knows. So it’s worth diving into. So just to go back a little bit, being in the investment side and carrying this through to the start ups and stuff like that. What kind of experience can you say that you really homed in on in your past when you were trading that really exemplified what you’re doing today? So there are certain skills that you had, and is it short-term gains for uh big money? Like what is the transaction that you kind of took that and said, you know what, this is how I’m going to treat the same thing I’m doing today. It’s back hunch. You know, when your stock trading or your investment trading, you’ve kind of got your own little method of how you invest, it’s kind of like playing cards, you kind of build your own little sequence and that’s how you make the money. Is there a same kind of process that you learned back in the day that you use when you’re working with startups?

Jonathan:
You know what, for me, it’s like seeing the future, right? Because, like, right now, when you look at the talk to an entrepreneur, it’s gonna be rough, especially when I’m investing so early, you’re not gonna believe them necessarily right away, right? But you’re really investing in the person. And sometimes when it’s this early, it’s the person and the team that matters so much more to me than the idea. Because the person can help pivot right? Once you’re stuck with an idea, you might not be able to get there and you can do something else. I always think about like one of my biggest regrets.

I don’t want to say regrets, but like mistakes that I made, I guess was, You know, I got, uh, this company in 2012, I got the pitch deck and it was a valuation of 20 million and it was talking about, so we pretend to buy and sell stocks at the game and you get like a weekly score. And I was just like, who wants to play this game? There’s no angry birds, there’s no like plants and zombies, you know, Zynga anything like that.

I thought like who would want to play this? And you know, and I thought the name was weird like why do they call it Rob