Top Venture Capitalist Kai-Fu Lee to Speak at Columbia Engineering Class Day

Kai-Fu Lee
Kai-Fu Lee
—Photo courtesy of Kai-Fu Lee

Kai-Fu Lee, an influential venture capitalist and former president of Google China who is often sought out for his insights into China’s technology trends, will give the keynote address for Columbia Engineering’s Class Day ceremony on May 15, 2017.

Lee is currently the chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, a leading early-stage investment company that is targeting the next wave of Chinese high-tech companies and mentoring the next generation of Chinese entrepreneurs. Prior to starting Sinovation Ventures in 2009, he served as president of Google China, vice president of engineering at Google, and held executive positions at Microsoft, SGI, and Apple.

“I’m looking forward to returning to Columbia and addressing students on this important day,” Lee said. “My time at Columbia helped inspire my interest in entrepreneurship and how engineers can solve real-world problems. This year’s graduates will find that they have an unprecedented opportunity to impact society, and I urge them to think on a global scale.”

Lee received a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in computer science in 1983 and went on to obtain a PhD in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1988. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from the City University of Hong Kong and Carnegie Mellon and is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and vice chairman of the Committee of 100, an elite group of Chinese Americans.

“Dr. Lee well represents the global breadth of our School, and his mentorship of young entrepreneurs shows the spirit of leadership and giving back that we are committed to developing in our students,” said Mary C. Boyce, Dean of Engineering and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor at Columbia. “We’ve embraced entrepreneurial endeavors at Columbia and are especially mindful of how technology affects every aspect of society. As a mentor and a successful investor with interests both here in the U.S. and China, Dr. Lee was the perfect choice.”

The best-selling author of six books, Lee was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2013. He is based in Beijing and has over 50 million followers on social media. 

—by Allison Elliott

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