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Ximei Li

Palo Alto
Ximei Li

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Ximei has worked on Advent’s investment in Cyware.

You can never afford to stop learning in this business.

In a role like this, you’re never doing the same job twice. Everything is very deal-specific, and each opportunity brings new things to consider and evaluate. You need to keep learning and developing. That’s what motivates me and gets me up in the morning.

Supporting new team members is part of the Advent culture.

I joined during the Covid-19 lockdown. It was a challenge to integrate with the team virtually, when I wasn’t able to meet everyone face-to-face. But we have formal and informal channels for mentorship, which are valuable ways to connect people and keep them in the loop. You also quickly form relationships organically when you’re working on investments. Everyone was very willing to invest time in me, and I think that’s one of the firm’s defining characteristics.

I’m most interested in tech sectors that are ripe for disruption.

The exposure is pretty broad – as an associate, you don’t specialize under one partner who works for a particular sub-sector. But out of all the areas of tech I’ve covered, I think the most interesting opportunities are in ones that have a developed ecosystem, like healthcare IT or payments, with a large number of players and stakeholders. These are big markets with complex customer pain points, and they’re well-positioned to be disrupted. The more time I spend looking into them, the more interesting they become.

At one point, I wanted to be a classical pianist.

That was my ambition until I realized that music – like all the arts – demands complete devotion to a single passion, and I wanted more than one thing in my life. I was very much into the liberal arts: I considered a career in the humanities, as a historian or curator. I ultimately ended up applying to Wharton and going into finance, which was a complete about-turn. By then, I realized that it was the best way to engage with the state of the world and understand how it’s evolving and changing.