Q&A with Lisa Pan

Kent alumna, Lisa Pan

Q&A with Lisa Pan

Woolf, 2011-12: MBA

Lisa Pan is President and Co-Founder of Photon Lens and an experienced angel investor and tech entrepreneur. In 2013, she accompanied the former British Prime Minister on a visit to China, representing the Chinese entrepreneur community. She founded CMC Fund and Koala Funds in 2014, and she led the acquisition of one of the UK’s largest gaming companies, Jagex Limited, in 2016, where she served as the Chairman and Board Director. Over four years, she doubled the profit of the company and successfully sold the company in 2020. In 2020, Lisa established the 'Lisa Pan Marketing and Technology Scholarship' to support MSc Marketing students in Kent Business School.

Her personal angel investment portfolio includes Tian Hai Wei (Landun) Listed, Vancl (one of the largest online retailers in China), Rekoo, Tiao.net (sold to Shanda), Lexun, TGBus, ANTVR, Shadow Creator, Topode (a top decentralized logistics platform company in China), City Curator, Box Centric, and Wonderhood Studio (founded by former Chanel CEO David Abraham). She holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Beijing University of Aeronautics & Astronautics, and an MBA from Kent Business School.

What do you do?
I am an investor and have specialised in high technology companies, particularly gaming, AI, AR and VR. I am also very interested in the music industry and would like to help Western artists to build their fanbase in Asian markets and also, in the same way, bring Asian artists to Western markets. This idea of connecting East and West was something that I developed in gaming markets and I am now trying to use it in the music industry.

What (or who) inspires you?
I want to be successful as an entrepreneur and in everything I do. My early inspiration came from my first job as a TV presenter in China when I interviewed the leading entrepreneurs at the time in China, the founders of firms such as Xiaomi, Tencent and so on. I interviewed all of them. I was inspired by how their success had changed and improved people’s lives and I wanted to do the same as an entrepreneur.

What do you work towards in your free time?
First of all, time with my children and their development is my number one priority. I feel passionately that children should be encouraged to be stronger, independent and not spoilt. We should make sure they spend time outdoors doing things, even playing tennis when it is really hot!

I also have many hobbies. I love music and I play lots of sports. I get up at 6am and play tennis for an hour. I usually have meetings till 2pm and then go to the gym or swim for an hour. I make sure that I recharge my batteries to deal with the stresses of life.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?
My proudest moment was making Rekoo, where I was CFO and angel investor, the first gaming company in Tech City London. This was announced in 2013 and got the attention of Boris Johnson and David Cameron. Another major achievement was the 2016 acquisition of Jagex, a UK gaming company, which I was involved with. It was sold 4 years later and had doubled its EBITA under my management.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise before you retire?
I want to build unicorn companies. I have mainly been an investor but I now want to focus on companies and build them. I love music and want to connect the expertise I have developed in gaming and the fusion between Western and Eastern culture and bring that to the music sector.

As an alumna you have recently established a philanthropic scholarship for the MSc Marketing – can you tell us a little more about that and your motivation to support students at Kent?
I was talking to one of my lecturers from Kent, who is also a friend, Dr Des Laffey, and wanted to know how I could help this generation of students, who have suffered so much disruption through Covid-19. The scholarship is my way of giving something back to Kent, where I have so many happy memories, and helping someone to change their life through having the same opportunity to study that I had. The scholarship is focused around Marketing and Technology because that is where my expertise lies and I believe will offer many opportunities to the successful scholar.

Do you have a funny memory from your time at Kent?
When I arrived in Kent I got a Mini Cooper. I went to a car wash and didn’t realise I had chosen the self-wash option where I had to do it myself. I had never done this before, and never will again!

What is the one thing you believe that you will never concede, no matter how much people argue with you?
I will always believe that globalisation can be successful. In these difficult times it is easy to become insular but I really believe that globalisation can bring prosperity and bridge the gaps between East and West. We should focus on the benefits of globalisation and make sure that we address the problems that arise, being particularly aware of climate change, so everyone benefits, now and in the future.

Follow in Lisa's footsteps on the Kent MBA programme