We Believe in People before technology.
We invest in Founders before products.

HOW IT STARTED

In 2020, the Z LAB Venture Studio was conceived to address the present gap in the startup ecosystem for early stage startups. The Studio also focusses on products and ideas that can bring impactful changes to the global society and address the current divide regarding access to technology and resources.

The Studio is also committed to provide international and immigrant founders access to pre-see capital and all resources needed to scale up successful startup.

OUR PHILOSOPHY

Our startups are conceived with the global market in mind from day one. Our process is designed to find the maximum competitive advantage in a global market from the utilization of resources to the viability of products.

LEADERSHIP TEAM

A balanced group of experienced investors, entrepreneurs, lawyers, marketing and BD expert

Sandip Bordoloi, PhD

Founding Partner

15+ years of technical and leadership experience in the energy industry, majority in new ventures space. Sandip co-founded Z LAB to help disadvantaged entrepreneurs bring their innovative ideas to the market ... more

Sunny Zhang, PhD

Founding Partner

Behavioral scientist with 20+ years of marketing experience and 17 years of business school teaching with a track record of business development and startup growth ... more

Shuang Leng, J.D.

Partner

Attorney and corporate advisor with focuses on corporate governance and transactions, data privacy and security, startup issues, commercial transactions, and blockchain-related matters ... more

Stephen Read

Partner

Founder of HIT Investments and 11+ year angel investor, Stephen writes a blog on behavioral and personal finance and manages the hedge fund HIT Capital ... more

OUR INDUSTRY ADVISORS

Highly experienced subject matter experts supporting the leadership team

Davy Wang

Advisor

Davy has been working as the Technical General Manager in Tencent Cloud America focusing on Cloud business. He was Chief Architect and Senior director of Amazon Webservices, the first batch of getting AWS expert certification ... more

Haoyi Chen, PhD, J.D.

Advisor

Haoyi Chen focuses his practices on helping companies to solve their intellectual property issues from each of their business needs, including but not not limited to domestic and international patent/trademark application and ... more

Why Z LAB?

Our 4P focus.

People

We believe in people before technology. We invest in founders before products.

Process

Our systematic venture building process decreases the risks of startup failure and increases the chance of success.

Place

We focus on emerging venture ecosystems like Texas with a wealth of high caliber and diverse talents targeting the global market.

Partnerships

We engage and nurture founders from the beginning through incubating programs with partnering organizations.

FAQ

Frequently asked questions

We are more hands-on than traditional VCs. We not only invest through Z LAB Fund but engage curated experts at Z LAB Studio to help ventures avoid common mistakes and be more efficient with capital.

Z LAB Studio has curated a network of world-class experts and service providers to help founders with the venture building process so they can concentrate on building their products.

Impact-driven startups are not only motivated by better financial returns but also balances the social impact of their products. Doing well and doing good are never at odds at impact-driven startups. In general, Z LAB supports the UN 2030 SDGs but also focusses on founders from underestimated communities like women, minority and immigrants. We believe in the greater good of the society when we collaborate to innovate.

Software startups require much less capital to scale and grow. They also have a faster turn around in terms of exits compared to traditional hard tech industry. Predictable revenue models for SaaS startups are an added attraction for investors.

Immensely talented women, minority, and immigrant founders need the most help right at the beginning (startups valley of death). Better structured early stage ventures make for better investments in later stages.

Underestimated founders like women, minority and immigrants often lack the social network to raise the necessary pre-seed capital to build their products and demonstrate traction to attract seed stage investor capital. Z LAB is aiming to bridge this divide for underestimated founders and provide not only the pre-seed capital to talented entrepreneurs but also provide the necessary infrastructure to build and scale their products at a faster pace with better capital efficiency.

Stephen Read Partner
Expertise
  • Family & Adventures
  • Investment Analysis
  • Behavioral Economics
  • Computer Programming
  • Creating and Compounding
Languages
  • English
  • Python

Mr. Stephen Read is happily married to his wife Sarah with whom he has 3 children (Nora, Isaac andMarcus). Stephen founded HIT Investments, the General Partner of the Hedge fund HIT Capital in 2011.

Mr. Stephen Read has spent the majority of his life researching, investing and learning how to compoundwealth. His personal expertise lies in strategy, programming, behavioral finance, and investment analysis.

Stephen is a life long learner who believes the best way to learn is by doing. Since graduating from MissouriS&T with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering he has:


Worked 14 years at ConocoPhillips as a Drilling Engineer, Rig Supervisor, Development Team Lead,Exploration Project Manager, A&D Lead, Strategic Planning, Reserves Coordinator, Commercial Leadand Water Manager
Played professional baseball which was capped off with a Continental League Championship
Founded the investment firm HIT Investments and oversees +$10 million in AUM
Manages the hedge fund HIT Capital which has +14% CAGR since its 2013 launch
Saved and compounded enough $ for his family to reach financial independence by age 37
Built a website and writes a blog on personal and behavioral finance
Invested in startups since 2011, which includes one unicorn (and counting)
Developed and lead a Python programming program, producing more than 100 translators and coders

Stephen’s investment expertise lies in the markets available to the hard working middle class: public equities, real estate, and early stage startups. He is passionate about helping others save, invest, and follow theircalling. Stephen is a registered Investment Adviser in the state of Texas. One of Stephen’s favorite quotes is from 2 Corinthians 9:6 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will alsoreap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
Shuang Leng, JD Partner
Expertise
  • Corporate Governance
  • Corporate Transactions
  • Data Privacy and Security
  • Commercial Transactions
  • Blockchain
Languages
  • English
  • Chinese

Shuang Leng is an attorney licensed in Illinois and Texas. She works with both startups and establishedcompanies and assists them with their ongoing business and legal needs. Her practice mainly focuses oncorporate governance and transactions, commercial transactions, data privacy and security, and blockchain-related matters. Shuang is also a certified information privacy professional (CIPP/US/E) with experience in boththe US and European data protection laws. The CIPP is the global standard in privacy certification, developedand issued by the International Association of Privacy Professionals.

Shuang is adept in contract review, analysis, and drafting, and has a deep understanding of corporatestructures and business entities. She is well-versed in corporate transaction deal structures (deal steps, equitystructures, fund flow, due diligence, and M&A taxation). She developed all essential algorithms for a taxcalculator, which compares and ranks tax liabilities and benefits resulting from all available deal structures(stock sales, assets sales, mergers, 338(h)(10) elections, etc.) for sales or acquisitions of C corporations, Scorporations, LLCs and partnerships.

Shuang works with tech companies on a regular basis. In addition to transactional work, she advisescompanies on securities regulations, capital raising activities, legal issues surrounding the Internet of Thingsand related legislative activities, and other compliance matters.

Education
J.D., University of Kansas, School of Law, USA
LL.B. Renmin University of China, Law School, China

Other Qualifications
CIPP/US (Certified Information PrivacyProfessional/US)
CIPP/E (Certified Information PrivacyProfessional/Europe)

Bar and Court Admissions
Texas
Illinois
China (Legal Professional Qualification Certificate)
Southern District Court of Texas

Sunny Zhang, Ph.D. General Partner
Expertise
  • Research & Strategy
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Networks
  • Innovation Adoption
  • International Business
Languages
  • English
  • Chinese

Dr. Sunny Zhang is the founder and president of Z LAB, a research-driven full-service global innovation studio.She is also an Associate Professor in Marketing at the Cameron School of Business, University of St. Thomas.

Dr. Zhang has 20 years experience in consumer and organizational behavior, demonstrated by her pioneeringwork on e-commerce as well as her groundbreaking experiment on social networks. She has conductedextensive research and developed effective strategies for numerous local and international businesses andorganizations. She received her PhD in Marketing and Master of Business from the Kelley School of Business,Indiana University, and her MS in Applied Psychology from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

With her dedication to collaboration across borders, Dr. Zhang has been playing an important role in cultivatingnetwork connections among the global business community. She serves several leading international not-for-profit organizations, such as the American Marketing Association, the University of Texas at Austin's ChinaPublic Policy Center, Global Energy Mentors, and MIT Enterprise Forum. She also frequently appears atinternational conferences as a speaker and/or a moderator.

Education
PhD. in Marketing, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, USA
Master of Business, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, USA
MS in Applied Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
BS in Social Psychology, Jilin University, China

Sandip Bordoloi, Ph.D. General Partner
Expertise
  • Upstream O&G
  • Digital Innovation
  • Portfolio management
  • Technology Adoption
  • International Business
Languages
  • English
  • Hindi

Sandip is a founding partner at Z LAB, a digital Innovation studio in Houston. Sandip has more than 15 years ofexperience in the oil and gas industry both in a technical and leadership role, majority in the new venture space.Sandip has led multiple new venture projects for a large energy independent including new country entry and exitsfrom major projects. Sandip has managed capital projects with over $1 B in assets including strategic planning,partnership management, execution and exits.

At Z LAB, Sandip is leading the software development team working closely with entrepreneurs to bring their digitalinnovations to the market. Sandip is passionate about building and investing in sustainable and affordable digitalsolutions addressing the UN SDG. Sandip’s has published multiple technical articles in industry journals related to the application of innovativegeochemical techniques in the exploitation of unconventional resources.

Leadership Experience in Managing Exploration and Appraisal of New Venture Projects Technical Experience in Exploration, Appraisal, and Development of Unconventional and Conventional oil andgas assets Leadership Experience in Major Project Implementation Leadership Experience in New Country Entry

Education PhD. in Geosciences, University of Alabama, USA Master of Science, University of Alabama, USA Master of Science, University of Delhi, India BSc in Geology, University of Delhi, Delhi
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