Changing Face of Global Alternative Assets with Iris Zhao

About Iris Zhao: Iris is the Head of Capital Formation and Investment Solutions at Castleforge Partners. Prior to that Iris was a Managing Director at GCM Grosvenor based in New York, where she headed its global growth and venture as well as Asian private equity verticals. Prior to joining GCM Grosvenor, Iris was a Partner in the Customized Fund Investment Group of Credit Suisse Group AG, which specialized in providing customized PE solutions to institutional investors. Iris started in CFIG’s New York office, led the establishment of the CFIG’s Hong Kong office and is a founding member of its London office. Iris currently serves on the Executive Committee of Private Equity Women Investor Network (PEWIN) as well as on the board of PEWIN Foundation."

Below are the She-VC topics we discussed:

  1. How have your experiences as an investor in the private equity market shaped you as an investor? Tell us about your journey.

  2. You have experiences in these different markets, how has Institutional LP’s appetite evolved over time?

  3. How has institutional investors’ investment appetite and risk profile changed more recently during COVID-19? How important do you feel time-diversification /vintage year is important when thinking about a PE portfolio?

  4. Can you elaborate about the new market opportunities for venture and growth ? And how has the market changed in the last 5 years?

  5. How do you select fund managers? How do you evaluate emerging fund managers? What kind of track records do institutional investors look for?

  6. How do you think large LPs like public pensions, sovereign funds and others can meaningfully invest in emerging managers, especially first time fund managers?

  7. Tell us about PEWIN organization and how you are supporting women fund managers?

  8. How do you think we can empower more women into CIOs role where they create more diversity and women focused mandated in their investments ?

  9. To invest in such unpredictable big ideas one has to learn and see things differently. I think venture capital is not a job but it is a lifestyle.

  10. So how do you prepare yourself for such a lifestyle. What learning habits that you have or acquired?

Investing in VC keeps me on my toes - there is always more to learn. Maintain curiosity and an open mind

How do you maintain work life balance?

Compartmentalize/know how to work in segments and transition quickly. Enjoy the little things.

How has being a female in a male-dominated space help you see things differently?

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