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Katie Zhao

Associate Builder

From making movies with Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan to building new companies at AI Fund, Katie Zhao loves creating new things. 

Now an Associate Builder at AI Fund on secondment from Newmay Ventures, Katie considers her investment philosophy fairly straightforward: “Anything that has technological differentiation. So long as you have found a new way of doing things, that is a hard and fast barrier to entry.”

“I think it’s very hard to get market presence and keep the big guys away from it once you validate the thesis,” Katie explains. “So for me, the most important thing is you have to have something that is unique and only you can do it. And no amount of money can take that away from you. Having that differentiation gives you time to outmaneuver other players when they come after your market.” 

Katie began her career at STX Entertainment, a venture-backed startup that financed, produced, and distributed movies. Working on films such as “Free State of Jones” with Matthew McConaughey, blockbuster hit “Bad Moms” and Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game,” Katie’s talents were demonstrable, and she rapidly rose to head international strategy and played a role in STX’s merger with Eros Media World and later acquisition by the Najafi Companies.

She later switched to the investing side of the startup world, where she worked with a couple different funds and invested in a variety of pre-seed companies. Katie holds an MBA from UCLA and a bachelor’s degree in business from Boston University. 

When she’s not incubating startup companies, Katie enjoys reading, bouldering, and returning to the ice rink where she used to compete as a figure skater. 

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