Roland Berger consultant Zihao Xu has moved over to Octopus Ventures, a London and New York-based venture capital investor. Xu spent nearly six years in Roland Berger’s London office.
Zihao Xu joined Roland Berger (at the time Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, prior to its rebranding) in March 2011, after gaining his Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Management from the University of Oxford. At the consulting firm, Xu contributed to several strategic, operational and commercial due diligence engagements across a wide range of sectors, including Aerospace & Defence, Automotive, Industrials, Energy and Private Equity. Although he was based in London, Xu’s project experience spanned Europe, North America and Asia.
After six years in the consulting industry Xu recently decided to embark on a new adventure, and per the 1st of August he has joined Octopus Ventures, a venture capitalist best known for backing the likes of Secret Escapes, eve Sleep, SwiftKey and Zoopla Property Group. Octopus Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Octopus Group, an investment management company with more than £6 billion of assets under management, typically invests from £250,000 up to £25 million in first or second rounds of funding.
The startup scene is not new for Xu – he is also an entrepreneur himself as the founder of a sunglasses and lifestyle brand Canopy Sunglasses. Founded in 2014, Xu holds responsibility for every aspect of the business including strategy, sourcing, branding and web development. Canopy Sunglasses has so far been sold in 14 countries across Europe, Asia, North America and Oceania, mainly through online retail and re-sellers.
Xu joins Octopus Ventures’ investment team as an Investment Associate. In the role, he will work with investment managers to identify promising startups across the UK and Europe, as well as play a role in advising enterprises already part of Octopus Ventures’ portfolio.
Globally, venture capital funding into startups is on a high, hitting a record $128 billion in 2015, although the scene has been losing some steam throughout 2016 on the back of uncertain valuations and a drop in economic sentiment. Octopus Ventures is a fast growing player in the market – the company recently raised an additional £100 million to invest into early stage European businesses.
Commenting on the appointment, Alex Macpherson from Octopus Ventures says: “Zihao’s experience in having run a business himself as well as assessing markets and delivering top line strategic advice to global businesses makes him a great addition to the team”.
Xu says that he is delighted with the move, stating, “There’s a huge amount of entrepreneurial talent coming out of the UK and Europe. I’m super excited to be joining Octopus in helping to support and serve this community. Coming from a background in advising large corporates, I’m looking forward to getting stuck in at the other end of the spectrum. Given the track record of Octopus Ventures, particularly the year they have had so far in 2016, in my opinion there is no better place to work with unusually talented entrepreneurs.”