Sequoia China moves investor pitch day online amid virus outbreak

HONG KONG/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Tech investor Sequoia Capital China is taking its “Demo Day” online for the first time as part of its efforts to reduce the impact on fundraising from the spread of the coronavirus.

The event, which Sequoia China has held regularly for several years, is designed to introduce some of the fund’s early-stage investments to an invite-only group of potential investors.

Instead of the typical half-day meetings that allow entrepreneurs from across China to mingle with potential backers, this time the event will be held in two three-hour online sessions over two days later this month.

About 30 start-ups will present their companies to some 50 investors, mainly from China.

“As an entrepreneur who went through SARS in 2003, I fully understand the challenges entrepreneurs face during the current coronavirus outbreak,” Neil Shen, Sequoia China’s founding and managing partner, said in a news release.

“We always take a long-term view and believe that when we look back at these challenging times, we will realize that these events are occurrences that each business must face and overcome in the path to becoming lasting companies.”

The fast-spreading virus has claimed more than 1,100 lives.

More than two dozen large trade fairs and industry conferences here in Asia have been postponed, shuttering events where billions of dollars worth of deals have been signed in the past.

Sequoia China was founded in 2005 by Shen and employs over 150 people in China.

It has invested in over 500 firms in China, including e-commerce firms, Alibaba Group, and fast-growing firms Didi Chuxing, Meituan Dianping and Beijing Bytedance Technology.

Reporting by Julie Zhu in Hong Kong and Krystal Hu in New York; editing by Jason Neely