Alibaba Cloud chief scientist Min Wanli quits, starts new VC firm

Min Wanli, the chief machine intelligence scientist at Alibaba Cloud, has tendered his resignation after six years with the e-commerce giant to set up a venture capital firm, according to a farewell letter obtained by Chinese media.

In the letter, Wan revealed that he has created a venture capital firm that seeks to integrate cloud computing and artificial intelligence into the periphery of traditional industries – manufacturing, agriculture, and medical care.

The fund, named North Summit Capital, has reportedly received at least $100 million in commitments from various investors, including an investor from the Middle East.

Min joined Alibaba in September 2013 as its principal data scientist. He had previously taken research roles at IBM, T. J. Watson Research Center, and was a senior statistician at Google.

He helped set up Alibaba’s Big Data incubator team, Alibaba Cloud, and then spearheaded ET City Brain, the company’s cloud-powered and AI-driven urban traffic management system.

In September, Alibaba launched the ET City Brain 2.0 in collaboration with the city government of Hangzhou. The programme connects 1,300 traffic lights and 200 traffic officers online.

In his resignation letter, Min said he did not join another company or raise money to start a business during his tenure at Alibaba. After all, he said, there is “no better platform in the world than Ali”.

His LinkedIn profile still shows that he is vice president and chief machine intelligence scientist at Alibaba Cloud, a position he has held since June 2017.

He said he set up a VC fund that seeks to help promote the digital transformation and intelligence upgrading of traditional industries.