Dr. Kai-Fu Lee Leaves Google, Starts Innovation Works

Sun Sep 6, 2009 10:31pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

Supported by Industry Giants, Plans $115 Million Investment to Enable Chinese
Entrepreneurs to Develop Next Wave of High-Tech Companies in China
BEIJING--(Business Wire)--
Innovation Works, a business creation platform focused on establishing the next
wave of Chinese high-technology companies founded by Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, launches
today. This announcement follows news of Dr. Lee`s resignation as Google Vice
President and President of Google Greater China and introduces a new business
paradigm into the Chinese start-up environment. 

Led by Dr. Lee, Innovation Works will concentrate on Internet, mobile Internet,
and cloud computing technology advancements targeted at the Greater China
market, and build "dream teams" to collect, analyze, prioritize and execute on
the most promising ideas. Innovation Works will accelerate an entrepreneur`s
ability to prove ideas, obtain additional external funding, and then spin-off
into an independent company. 

Innovation Works will be funded with $115 million from an elite group of venture
capital groups and investors including Steve Chen (Co-Founder of YouTube),
Foxconn Technology Group, Legend Group and New Oriental Education & Technology
Group. WI Harper Group is the lead venture capital investor. 

"The Chinese entrepreneurial environment is still in its formative stage, with
significant barriers for the early-stage entrepreneur: the lack of management
experience and coaching, the reluctance of venture capitalists to invest in
companies in the formation stage, and the lack of networking and experience to
pull a company together," said Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, Innovation Works founder,
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "These barriers all contribute to a dearth
of high-tech start-ups in China. Innovation Works is matching entrepreneurs,
engineers, ideas, and capital with a unique business model that improves success
rates and speeds time-to-market." 

Dr. Lee continued, "Innovation Works will be the de-facto institution for
launching the most promising technology ideas in China. Through the rigorous
development and testing of prototypes, and identification of a `founding
executive` to lead the venture, Innovation Works will provide capital, manpower,
legal, financial and IT support. Our commitment is to mentoring and supporting
the next-generation of Chinese entrepreneurs so that they can focus on building
great products without distraction." 

Said Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTube, "As a co-founder of YouTube and PayPal,
I deeply believe that passion and dedication are critical success factors of
start-ups. Every time I visited China, I am encouraged by the enthusiasm and
commitment shown by the entrepreneurs there. I am convinced that Innovation
Works will provide the best platform for these entrepreneurs to realize their
dreams." 

Terry Gou, Chairman of Foxconn, said: "I have known Dr. Lee since he worked for
Apple, and I have followed Dr. Lee`s brilliant work from Apple to Microsoft to
Google. I am confident that his creative ideas and charismatic leadership will
be fully unleashed at Innovation Works. I am very pleased to be one of the
founding investors of his new venture." 

Beijing Vice Mayor Gou Zhongwen endorsed Dr. Lee`s move, saying, "I hope
Innovation Works will build on the advantages of Beijing Zhongguancun Science
Park, China`s Silicon Valley, to foster more entrepreneurs, valued Chinese
brands, intellectual property and high-end information technology. With Dr.
Lee`s rich experience in technology innovation, Innovation Works will undoubted
play a significant role in the next wave of advancements." 

Mr. Liu Chuanzhi, Chairman of Legend Group, said, "With the resilience of the
Chinese economy, the abundance of late-stage funding, the newly established
China Growth Market Second Board, the emerging 3G and cloud computing, and the
exceptional talent pool in China, this is the perfect timing for Dr. Lee`s
Innovation Works platform." 

Added WI Harper Chairman Peter Liu, "Every year Innovation Works will spin-off
three to five companies and WI Harper is delighted to help those companies build
an institutional investor syndicate to grow and flourish. Dr. Lee`s experience
positions him perfectly to guide these new ventures to successful outcomes, and
in doing so deliver value to all shareholders." 

More about Dr. Kai-Fu Lee:

Dr. Lee, 47, was born in Taiwan and grew up in the United States. He holds a
B.A. from Columbia University (summa cum laude, 1983), and Ph.D. from Carnegie
Mellon University (CMU). At Carnegie Mellon, he developed the first
speaker-independent speech recognition system that was selected as the "Most
Important Innovation" in 1988 by BusinessWeek. In 1989, he developed an
Othello-playing computer program that defeated the world`s human champion. 

After teaching for two years at CMU, Dr. Lee joined Apple in 1990, where he
became the Vice President of its Interactive Media Group, which developed
QuickTime and other technologies. In 1996, Dr. Lee joined Silicon Graphics Inc.
(SGI) where he served as Vice President of the Web Products Division, which
developed a $200 million product line of web servers, and also started Cosmo
Software. 

In 1998, he joined Microsoft where he built from the ground up Microsoft
Research Asia, one of the world`s top research labs. MIT Technology Review calls
this research lab "the hottest computer science laboratory." Dr. Lee was
promoted to Corporate Vice President in 2000, and he returned to the United
States to co-lead Microsoft`s .Net effort. 

In the fall of 2005, Dr. Lee joined Google to become a Vice President and
President of Google Greater China. 

During his tenure at Google, Dr. Lee built a 700-person organization with many
successes. In the past three years, Google China`s market share nearly doubled
from 16.1% to 31.0% (Analyses International). Google Map, Google Mobile Map,
Mobile Search, and Google Translate have all become #1 in the China market this
year. 

In addition to his accomplishments in high technology, Dr. Lee has been devoted
to fostering the professional growth of Chinese technology students. He has
given hundreds of lectures to about 500,000 students, and has written seven
public letters and three books for Chinese students. His first book, Be Your
Personal Best, sold over one million copies and is still on many best-seller
lists. Dr. Lee has built his own website for Chinese students (www.5xue.com) and
answered thousands of questions from students. Dr. Lee is one of the most
popular figures with young people in China. 

About Innovation Works:

Founded in September 2009 and led by Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, Innovation Works is a
business creation platform focused on establishing the next wave of Chinese
high-technology companies and mentoring the next-generation of Chinese
entrepreneurs. Innovation Works will concentrate on Internet, mobile Internet,
and cloud computing technology advancements targeted at the Greater China
market, and build "dream teams" to collect, analyze, prioritize and execute on
the most promising ideas. Innovation Works matches entrepreneurs, engineers,
ideas, and capital with a unique business model that improves success rates and
speeds time-to-market. 

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For Innovation Works
Heidi Groshelle, 415-307-1380
heidi@groshelle.com
or
Innovation Works
Samantha Chen, 13911631522
press@innovation-works.com



Copyright Business Wire 2009