LA Venture Podcast: Chang Xu's Basis Set Ventures Focuses On AI and Automation

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+ Shift.com, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.

On this week's episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, hear from Chang Xu, partner at Basis Set Ventures, a $140 million fund focused on AI and automation - technology that transforms the way people work.


Basis Set Ventures focuses on four pieces: infrastructure, collaboration, automation and autonomy. Chang spends a lot of time on infrastructure, and she breaks it down into four themes: raise the ceiling, lower the floor, open space and data privacy.

By raise the ceiling, Chang says there's "always going to be better and more secure and faster fundamental building blocks for infrastructure to the tune of database systems and streaming data and...infrastructure as code."

Lower the floor is about no code and low code, which, for example, could allow for not-trained people to build their own apps without relying on software developers. Chang predicts a proliferation of tools that she says will enable "people to create regardless of their technical abilities and their starting point."

When I heard "open source" I figured she meant "free." But, Chang says, open source "is almost table stakes for how infrastructure is discovered, bought and sold today."

Lastly, Chang says they see "data privacy as a really large tailwind and emerging space" because it is tackling the challenge of adhering to privacy regulations, but at the same time innovating fast, while taking advantage of the growing amounts of data companies are amassing.

Chang and her partners aren't just stuck on tech, they're also keenly interested in what makes a lasting and impactful founder. She says her firm's research has revealed that "successful founders are humble operators, agile visionaries and seasoned executives. And the less successful founders...are passionate outsiders, overconfident storytellers and stubborn individuals."

This interview goes deep into machine learning optimization (ML Ops), what Chang learned from her many years at Upfront, like how to craft a good narrative and practical advice for startups on how to form a board.

Not incidentally, Chang is L.A.-based, though the Basis Set operates out of San Francisco.

Chang Xu is a partner at Basis Set Ventures. Previously, she was a principal at Upfront Ventures, the oldest and largest SoCal-based early stage venture capital firm. Prior to joining Upfront, she was a founder and operator. She was the first product manager at the Minerva Project. She co-founded and was the COO of Onion Math, an edtech startup in China that has raised $90 million to date. She started her career at BCG where she advised clients across technology, retail, healthcare and private equity. She holds an MBA and AB in Applied Math and Computer Science, both from Harvard. (bio from Basis Set).

dot.LA Sr. Podcast Producer & Editor Laurel Moglen contributed to this post.

Want to hear more of L.A. Venture? Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

College Savings App UNest Taps New President As It Dives Into Crypto

Pat Maio
Pat Maio has held various reporting and editorial management positions over the past 25 years, having specialized in business and government reporting. He has held reporting jobs with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Orange County Register, Dow Jones News and other newspapers in Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Since its founding in 2018, UNest has focused on helping parents save money for their kids. Offering customers flexible accounts to go toward things like college tuition, wedding expenses or a down payment on a house, the North Hollywood-based fintech startup might seem like more of a low-risk institution.

Yet in the next few weeks, UNest is jumping headfirst into the world of cryptocurrencies.

Read more Show less

TikTok Stars Like the D’Amelio Sisters and Addison Rae Are Earning More Than Many S&P 500 CEOs

Molly Wright
Molly Wright is an intern for dot.LA. She previously edited the London School of Economics’ student newspaper in the United Kingdom, interned for The Hollywood Reporter and was the blogging editor for UCLA’s Daily Bruin.

Eat your hearts out, CEOs: TikTok stars like the D’Amelio sisters and Addison Rae are banking more money than many of the S&P 500’s chief executives.

Read more Show less
mollywright@dot.la

Trendy Wellness Brand Moon Juice Is Raising $7 Million As It Targets Middle America

Harrison Weber

Do you know something we should know about L.A. tech or venture capital? Reach out securely via Signal: +1 917 434 4978.

Harrison is dot.LA's senior finance reporter. They previously worked for Gizmodo, Fast Company, VentureBeat and Flipboard. Find them on Twitter: @harrisonweber. Send tips on L.A. deals to harrison@dot.la. Pronouns: they/them.

Moon Juice—the Los Angeles wellness brand known for its juices, skin care products and adaptogenic Sex Dust—is in the process of raising $7 million in new funding.

Read more Show less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending