Ex-JPMorgan China President Joins Mainland Venture Capital Fund

  • To advise start-ups on strategy, capital-market transactions
  • PurpleSky invests in Internet gaming, e-commerce firms

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s former China president is joining PurpleSky Capital, to help the early-stage venture capital firm develop its business on the mainland.

Brett Krause, 48, said he’ll provide advice to PurpleSky’s portfolio companies on their strategy and on preparing for initial public offerings or capital-markets transactions. "Throughout my career I’ve always been deeply involved in building new businesses," Krause said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "The attraction of a move to venture capital is a natural one for me."

Shanghai-based PurpleSky is one of the pioneers of early-stage investing in China, focusing on companies in the Internet gaming, e-commerce and high-tech sectors. It has invested about 750 million yuan ($113 million) in almost 50 companies including Inke, a Chinese mobile-streaming video app, and Nasdaq-listed Momo Inc., a social-networking platform, Krause said.

Years of red-hot economic growth and the emergence of a private entrepreneurial class has created in China some of the biggest names in technology, from ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing to the company behind DJI drones.

Still, the euphoria that catapulted the country’s startup financing to a record in 2015 may be starting to wane. Chinese-based venture capital firms raised just $400 million in the second quarter, the lowest figure in almost three years, according to London consultancy Preqin Ltd.

Krause joined New York-based JPMorgan in China in 2014, and was named president of the bank’s locally-incorporated division later that year. Before JPMorgan, Krause was Citigroup Inc.’s country officer in Vietnam from 2008 to 2013. He also spent more than six years with Citigroup in China.

Krause has a Bachelor of Science degree from Georgetown University and a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Business School. Krause said he first met PurpleSky founder Scott Zheng more than two decades ago, when they were both studying at Columbia.