Chinese Investor-Turned-Entrepreneur: “It’s a Spiritual Experience”

October 11, 2011

12:30 pm

Once an investor, the Chinese-born Henry* gave up risk-reward balancing for the 12-hours-a-day, 6-days-a-week life of the entrepreneur.

“I’m not patient. I would like to take a more active and engaged role,” says Henry, who started as a founding partner in app developer VitaStone and is now a full cofounder. “It’s a very fruitful and spiritual experience for me.”

VitaStone has created a variety of iPhone and Android apps for the international market – from an Angry Birds Walkthrough that shows you how to beat each level, to Crazy Slash, which lets you vent your frustration by slicing up things. The 15-person VitaStone team is part of Bonvon Technology, which launched a year ago in Beijing and also does ecommerce and web apps.

Before that, Henry was working at a private equity firm and angel investing in early-stage companies. As an angel, he says, he wouldn’t invest in a startup unless it expected cash flow in 3-5 months.

But as an entrepreneur, Henry has a slightly different attitude. He is more motivated, more connected with his team, and more risk tolerant. “For an entrepreneur, they need to put all their eggs in one basket and look after that basket carefully,” he says.

He even sounds like an optimistic entrepreneur as he tells me of VitaStone’s prospects: they’re already making money selling on the app store; it won’t be difficult to get funding; China’s Internet giants won’t clone them because their apps appeal to niche markets; and, with low distribution costs, the founders have enough cash to last one or two years. But Henry does admit to the constant anxiety and uncertainty of figuring out the right direction for VitaStone.

Asked what would be his ideal outcome for the company, Henry replies, “I really want to build this into a great company, not just sell this to someone else.” That’s definitely the entrepreneur talking.

*Henry declined to give his last name to keep a low profile and instead promote his team and their hard work.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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