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Grant Horsfield of naked Group: Creating a Lifestyle Brand in China

Season 1

Episode 19

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Interviewed by Hans Tung and Zara Zhang.

GGV Capital’s Hans Tung and Zara Zhang interview Grant Horsfield (高天成), a South African serial entrepreneur who came to China in 2005 and founded naked Group, which includes the premium sustainable resort brand naked Retreats (裸心度假村) and the coworking space naked Hub (裸心社).

In 2007, Grant and his wife, Delphine Yip-Horsfield, opened the first naked resort – naked Home – in Moganshan (莫干山), a beautiful mountain 30-minute drive from Hangzhou. Following its success, Grant continued to expand the naked resort business into other high-end, eco-friendly resorts which prioritize sustainability development – naked Stables (裸心谷) and naked Castle (裸心堡).

In 2015, Grant and Delphine launched the coworking space business naked Hub, which seeks to combine hospitality, design, technology, and community. naked Hub offers several services, include open public sharing space, private office, and hot desks. It now has more than 10,000 members across 504 office locations both in Shanghai, and Beijing, Hong Kong, and other offices in Australia, Vietnam and the UK. In April 2018, naked Hub and WeWork China announced that they would join forces to support coworking business in China and throughout Asia.

In this episode, Grant explained why he moved to China from rural South Africa, how he earned the trust of local Chinese farmers in Moganshan, and what differentiates naked Hub from other coworking spaces.

Join our listeners’ community via WeChat/Slack at https://nextbn.ggvc.com/engage.  GGV Capital also produces a biweekly email newsletter in English, which has a roundup of the week’s most important happenings in tech in China and Asia. Visit the newsletter link in the menu bar to subscribe.

We are excited to announce a new program, “GGV Fellows”, designed to help “sea turtles” or (海归) and Chinese students studying overseas to get to know the Chinese entrepreneurial landscape better. If you’re a Chinese student/professional who is studying/working overseas (or have done so in the past), this is a program designed for you! It’s a weeklong program in Jan 2019 in Beijing (during most US college’s winter break). You will be able to learn from executives at some of China’s most valuable tech companies, and visit some of their offices. You will also participate in mixers with students at top Chinese universities like Tsinghua and Beida to build a local network. Please visit fellows.ggvc.com for the application link and for more information.

GGV Capital is a multi-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, Shanghai, and Beijing. We have been partnering with leading technology entrepreneurs for the last 18 years from seed to pre-IPO. With $3.8 billion in capital under management across eight funds, GGV invests in globally minded entrepreneurs in Consumer/New Retail, Social/Internet, Enterprise/Cloud and Frontier Tech. GGV has invested in over 290 companies with more than 45 companies valued at more than $1 billion. Portfolio companies include Airbnb, Alibaba, Ctrip, Didi, Grab, Hellobike, HashiCorp, Houzz, Keep, Opendoor, Peloton, Slack, Square, ByteDance (Toutiao), Wish, Xiaomi, Xiaohongshu, and YY. Find out more at ggvc.com.

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