Stephen Bell spent seven years hunting for bargain investments among the startups founded by China’s entrepreneurs. Now he’s packed his bags and moved back to Texas, convinced the best deals are gone. “The market changed like a switch,” he said with total venture capital deals in China hitting $13.6 billion in 2014, up from $4.2 billion the year before.
The 52-year-old began making venture investments in China in 2009 and ended up putting money into about 50 startups. His focus was backing students graduating from top schools, such as Tsinghua University, as they came up with innovative ideas for companies. The valuations for startups have risen so much, though, he thinks the bargains are now gone.