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About Liyu Wang
Liyu Wang, PhD is a Senior Innovation Researcher leading startup evaluation and market analysis at Runway Innovation Hub.
During 2020, Liyu screened 4,000+ startups, recommending 148 for five global enterprises, including a Fortune Global 500 financial holding company and an asset management company.
Liyu specializes in evaluating pre-seed, seed and early-stage US and European startups. He is the author of several business articles covering topics such as property technology, digital health, remote working, future of work, and COVID-19’s impact on venture capital markets. Two of these articles have been ranked among the top three by Google search (unpaid). He was invited to give a talk about his work on COVID-19’s impact on venture capital markets at the Oxford Entrepreneurs Network.
Liyu is an engineering scientist with 10+ years of research experience in technology with a focus on electromechanical and robotic systems. He is the author of the book Soft-Material Robotics and 35 peer-reviewed technical papers. His research work has been featured in New Scientist, Daily Mail, NBC and Discovery Channel. His research work won the Siemens Fellowship, Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoc Fellowship, Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) Award, and the US National Postdoc Association Award.
Liyu received a Doctor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from ETH Zurich, a Master of Science degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Oxford, and a Bachelor of Engineering in optoelectronics engineering from Zhejiang University.
About Runway Innovation Hub
Since 2013, Runway has been providing customized startup analysis and investment recommendations for financial service and insurance providers such as Nomura, SOMPO, Ladenburg Thalmann, Silicon Valley Bank, SPARX, and Fortune Global 500 companies’ innovation teams .
Runway’s methodology relies on big data from public and private sources as well as automation techniques to generate 29 dimensions of information .
Runway-recommended startups have demonstrated a faster exit (median IPO age: five years, median acquisition age: four years) with a higher exit valuation (median IPO value: USD 662.98 million, median acquisition value: USD 144.3 million), when compared to the median for all the US startups [3, 4].
On behalf of an investor client, Runway has contributed to 30% of their total number of investments to date.
Table 1, Benchmarking Against AngelList’s Best Startups 2020  (US only) and All US Startups (Pre-Seed, Seed, and Early Stage VC). Data Source: Pitchbook.
|Runway (Liyu Wang)||AngelList||All US|
|Covered Period 1||10 February 2020 – 23 December 2020||16 June 2020||1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020|
|Number of Pre-Seed, Seed, and Early Stage VC US Startups||59||27||91.878|
|Total Funding Raised before Recommendation (USD mil.)||1,894.42||1,620.99||477,096.25 |
|Combined Valuation before Recommendation (USD mil.)||5,936.53||6,636.70||1,094,966.36 |
|Startup Survival Rate 3||100%||100%||79.8%|
|% Startups Raised Funding after Recommendation 4||22.0%||22.0%||11.5% |
|% Growth of Total Funding Raised after Recommendation||+18.1%||+2.3%||+11.4% |
|% Growth of Combined Known Valuation after Recommendation||+21.5%||N/A||+10.6% |
|Duration between Recommendation and Next Priced Round, Median (months)||3.0||3.0||N/A|
|% Growth of Post-Money Valuation Growth from the Value Round Prior to Recommendation (Those which Raised Funding 4), Median||+272.1%||+177.2%||N/A|
1. All the Runway–recommended US startups were either delivered in private client reports or published in online articles  during the Covered Period, while AngelList-recommended best startups were published on a single date of 16 June 2020 . All the US startups here were founded and in business before 31 December 2019.
2. For all the US startups: before 31 December 2019.
3. As of 15 January 2021.
4. For Runway-recommended pre-seed, seed, early-stage US startups, the following 13 raised funding after recommendation: ActivTrak, Applied Intuition, Covariant, Dexterity, Digital Onboarding, FitOn, ICON Technology, Lunewave, Noblr, Plant Prefab, RealBlocks, Swit, Vestorly. For AngelList’s Best list, the following 6 raised funding after recommendation: Bloomscape, Brightline, Capway, Newfront Insurance, Percy, Swiftly.
5. For all the US startups: after 1 January 2020.
Table 2, Benchmarking Against Early Metrics’ Recommendations on European Startups (2020) . Data Source: Pitchbook.
|Runway Innovation(Liyu Wang)||Early Metrics 1|
|Covered Period||10 February 2020 – 23 December 2020||29 January 2020 – 21 December 2020|
|Number of Recommended European Startups||33||28|
|% Pre-Seed and Seed Startups 2||30.3%||39.3%|
|% Early-Stage-VC Startups 2||45.5%||35.7%|
|% Later-Stage-VC Startups 2||21.2%||21.4%|
|Startup Survival Rate 3||100%||100%|
|% of Startups Raised Funding after Recommendation 3||9.1%(Daedalean, Hibob, Quiqup)||3.6%(Chefclub)|
|Total Funding Raised after Recommendation (USD mil.) 3||100.8||N/A|
1. All the Runway-recommended European startups were either delivered in private client reports or published in online articles  during the Covered Period. All the Early-Metrics-recommended startups were rated by Early Metrics as the top 1%-20%, and published in 13 online articles during the Covered Period .
2. At the time of recommendation.
3. As of 25 January 2021.
 See supporting materials Runway corporate innovation services overview and client testimonials.
 See supporting materials a sample Runway client startup recommendation report. The UK startup Hibob in the sample report was recommended to a Fortune Global 500 financial holding company in November 2020. Since then Hibob has raised USD 70 million funding and increased post-money valuation from USD 101 mil. to USD 500 mil.
 Pitchbook-NVCA Venture Monitor Q4 2020. Available https://pitchbook.com/news/reports/q4-2020-pitchbook-nvca-venture-monitor. Accessed 18 January 2021.
 Crunchbase (2018) How Long Does It Take a Startup to Exit? https://about.crunchbase.com/blog/startup-exit/. Accessed 18 January 2021.
 https://runway.is/blog. Accessed on 18 January 2021.
 Liyu Wang (2020) Proptech and Contech: A Life Cycle Perspective. Available at https://runway.is/blog/proptech-contech-research. Accessed on 18 January 2021. (Google “proptech research” ranking No. 2, unpaid). Also included as one of the three research examples.
 Liyu Wang (2020) Digital Health: Categories & Trends. Available at https://runway.is/blog/digital-health-trends. Accessed on 18 January 2021. (Google “digital health categories” ranking No. 2, unpaid). Also included as one of the three research examples.
 AngelList (2020) 52 Best Startup Companies To Watch Out For in 2020. Available at https://angel.co/job-collections/52-best-startup-companies-to-watch-out-for-in-2020. Accessed on 18 January 2021.
 Early Metrics (2020) Rated Startups. Available at https://earlymetrics.com/category/rated-startups/. Accessed on 18 January 2021. Early Metrics is an independent startup-rating agency with offices in Paris and London. It has rated over 3,500 European and international startups for over 280 clients including CAC40 and FTSE100 companies. It’s academic research partners include INSEAD, Audencia Business School, and Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. A recent study “Building Health Care AI in Europe’s Strict Regulatory Environment” by Prof. Chengyi Lin from INSEAD and Early Metrics was published by Harvard Business Review.