Seattle VC enters China

West coast technology specialist Ignition Partners, having teamed with Intel Capital China chief Duane Kuang, has formed a $200m fund to invest in Chinese growth companies.

Seattle-based venture capital firm Ignition Partners has joined forces with Duane Kuang, a former director of Intel Capital China, and Gary Rieschel, and a founder and former managing director of Mobius Venture Capital, to form a new investment firm in China.

Named Qiming, which in Mandarin means starting, the new firm will be based in Shanghai. According to a spokesperson, a $200 million venture capital fund has been raised to invest in early-stage and expansion companies in high-growth technology sectors servicing the large domestic Chinese market as well as the export sector.

Qiming and Ignition Partners, which in 2004 closed its third US-focused venture fund on $315 million, will invest the capital jointly. Qiming will also be working closely with other leading venture capital firms in China, according to a statement.

Investors in the fund include Ignition limited partners and additional institutional investors. Most of the investors in the fund are from the US and include the endowments of Princeton University and the University of Notre Dame.

Prior to his joining Qiming, China-born Kuang spent six years with Intel Capital, one of the largest corporate venture groups in the world, where he led Intel’s investment activities in China. Prior to that, he was with Cisco Systems for five years, holding various positions in sales and marketing in Beijing and Guangzhou.

Rieschel, during his time at Mobius, was involved in the setting up of several other venture capital firms including Ignition, US houses Grandbanks and Arrowpath as well as SOFTBANK Asia Infrastructure Funds (SAIF) in China. He moved to China in early 2005. Prior to his career in venture capitalism, he held senior positions with nCube, Cisco Systems, Sequent Computer Systems and Intel Corporation.

In addition to Kuang and Rieschel, Ignition partners Richard Tong and John Zagula will relocate to China to complement Qiming’s team. Edward Zhou, a previous manager at Cisco, is also part of the line-up.