Sir Richard Heygate

Founder, Director

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After studying Engineering at Oxford, Sir Richard started his corporate career in IBM’s Banking Division, where he helped install the first on-line networks in the UK. He led the project which developed the world’s first ATM for Lloyds Bank (started by Richard’s Great Great Grandfather). Sir Richard then had 7 years at McKinsey working at the intersection of IT and strategy before leaving to run the family business, including a new food company which he set up and sold to a public group. He later on went back to consulting via an MIT originated specialist then McKinsey again, where he became a partner for 10 years. Whilst at McKinsey, he started a successful CRM (big data) company, which became a UK leader before acquisition by a corporate. Since then he has been involved in 3 high tech start up’s and one involved in creating a China UK investment vehicle and networking group.

Sir Richard Heygate is very active in the new business venture space and occasional speaker and “Dragon”.

Dr. Rob Wylie


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Dr Rob Wylie is the co-founder and Chairman of WHEB, a sustainability focused multi-asset class investment firm covering private equity, listed equities and acquiring renewable energy assets with around €400m under management and offices in London and Munich.  Rob has focused on resource efficiency investments for over 25 years. Within the private equity team he is responsible for WHEB’s first fund and its portfolio companies.

Outside of WHEB Rob is Chairman of 88 initiative, a newly formed initiative to promote investment from China in late stage venture businesses in the UK, he is on the development board of The Ashden, a charity that promotes practical local energy solutions that cut carbon, protect the environment, reduce poverty and improve people’s lives as well as trustee of his own family charity that works in partnership with Kids Company to help disadvantaged children in London.

A chemist with an MA and PhD from the University of Cambridge, Rob spent ten years in Shell’s agrochemical business before working in the 1980s with Rothschild’s Bioscience unit investigating environmental investment opportunities. He then joined KPMG where he worked on numerous M&A and privatisation transactions as well as on the development of environmental funds in Central and Eastern Europe.

Rob has been an active participant on numerous industry, UK government and university advisory boards.

Ms. Yingni Lu


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Yingni brings deep market knowledge and operational expertise in the Chinese market.  Prior to joining 88 Initiative, she founded EcoLeap in 2011 with a team of six in both London and Beijing, advising technology companies on market entry and growth strategy in China.

Yingni comes from a business and strategy development background.  After working for multinational companies in China, including Procter & Gamble, she helped a UK-based innovative biocide company identify onshore oilfields as entry point and subsequently launched a water treatment engineering company in China to serve customers.  Her previous advisory roles include Beijing government on renewable technology needs and EDF Energy on corporate strategy during its divesture to Cheung Kong group in Hong Kong.

Yingni is also a keen contributors for various publications, including China Daily, Media Tenor, International Business and Diplomatic Exchange, and The Africa Report.

Yingni holds an Environmental Engineering degree from Tsinghua University China and an MBA with distinction from Imperial College London.

Mr. Ivan Hoo


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A Malaysian born entrepreneur who is passionate about photography and technology. After graduating from the University of Cambridge with a degree in Material sciences, he began his entrepreneurial career in an unusual startup – Inscentinel.

Inscentinel (The SnifferBees company) is a spin-off from Unilever. Backed by venture capital the company develops a biological-machine hybrid sensor. The technology is based on the training of honeybees to detect explosives and drugs. It is arguably the most sensitive sniffing device in the world. He left when VC money dried up in 2013 and has since worked on various projects across different technology sectors. Because Ivan has experienced the thrill of joining a technology startup straight from graduate, he is determined to help young entrepreneurs to develop a successful career with the support from experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists.