MSx/Sloan Alumni

Peter Chiu

MS ’23
Managing Partner and Cofounder, GSD Ventures
Peter Chiu, MS ’23
Peter Chiu, MS ’23
I can only accomplish so much, but I hold myself accountable to do whatever I can for the community.
August 25, 2023

The belief that investments must be not only good for investors but also good for society is one of Peter Chiu’s foundational principles. His moral compass has guided him through his career in investment banking for 15 years.

Chiu worked at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley for over 12 years before having the opportunity to customize a full private equity team for Guotai Junan International. He built the team with a focus on electric vehicles, renewable energy, and battery and auto tech. He also originated the Series B investment of MioTech, Asia’s “leading sustainability solutions provider.” His sustainability streak continued during his time in the MSx program at Stanford GSB, where he participated in the Impact Fund, a program designed to help students invest in early-stage ventures with social and environmental goals.

“Investment has to make a profit not just to the [limited partners], not just to the institutions, but to society as a whole,” he says.

Chiu also invests in meaningful friendships. Working in both Hong Kong and the US has gained him friends all around the globe. He credits his cross-cultural, collaborative business experience with giving him a “higher level of perspective” and teaching him to “embrace the difference” rather than fear it.

His method to transcending barriers? Another one of his fundamental values: authenticity. “If I open up and be my true self, the other side — my friends — will receive the signals,” he says. “I think that it is truly important to have an open mind and an open heart in order to connect between the West and East.”

How did mindfulness become a core aspect of your business approach?

From a young age, I have been interested in meditation and Buddhist philosophy. I enjoy reading books on Buddhism, and every year I will free up half a month to go to high-altitude areas such as Lhasa, Namtso Lake, Qinghai, and other places for meditation and travel. Taking meditation walks makes me feel very peaceful and centered. It allows me to better engage in daily life and work and to manage my team with the principles of meditation.

I heard you shared a special, meditative moment with David Dodson, one of your lecturers in management at Stanford GSB.

Yes. It happened when I was on an office hours walk with David. He was aware of my tradition of doing a meditation walk at high altitude on Namtso Lake at Tibet Mountain: every year, I spend two weeks there walking over 25 kilometers.

We passed by the Memorial Church, where there were some nice flowers. I paused for a moment, and I asked him, “Have you smelled the flowers?” He stood there for five seconds, looked into my eyes, and said, “Peter, thank you for such a great moment.” It was such a Zen experience. He even brought it up later in class and shared it with his wife, Wendy.

How did you build your career in investment banking?

I spent over 12 years doing pure investment banking for Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, as well as commercial banking for UBS and other Hong Kong banks. I basically did every type of product and business investment banking before I pivoted from what’s known in investment banking as a “sell-side” to a “buy-side.” I had the unique opportunity at my previous institution, Guotai Junan International, to build a team from zero to 25 people and make many investments. I specialized in things like renewable energy, automation, and AI.

What do you personally find most interesting about working in finance?

The way I see it is that you can be entrepreneurial in any industry, even industries that don’t necessarily call for it. It’s all about the mindset. Even in the financial industry, I view myself as an entrepreneur because I always have that mindset: I love to build things, whether it’s products or a business. This mindset is especially necessary to adapt to the changes that the financial sphere is constantly undergoing.

"It is truly important to have an open mind and an open heart in order to connect between the West and East.”

I continued to foster this entrepreneurial mentality during my time in MSx. There are many, many startups here at Stanford, and I was fortunate enough to participate in Startup Garage. I also participated in the GSB Impact Fund, which provided a great learning opportunity for me to view projects from multiple perspectives and dimensions, as well as measure the value they provide for sustainable development.

How do you decide which investments to pursue and let go of?

I think that goes back to my core values. Renewables, in particular, were interesting. I thought that electric vehicles were a huge trend: they were replacing gas-powered cars, it was green energy, and the penetration rate was high. Not only was the EV a technological trend, but it was also an innovation that brought real value. Also, the price of EV cars nowadays is beating that of gasoline cars, which helps underserved populations afford transportation. I thought that was one of EV’s key social impact elements.

You’ve invested in Esports recently. What was the rationale for that?

Right now, it’s huge in Asia. China is different from the US in that there aren’t many places for people to play soccer or baseball. The land is limited. I didn’t know the eSport world before, but as it became popular, I was drawn to the atmosphere. I even watched a championship match.

For younger generations of Asians, their parents are saying, “Oh, don’t play so many games. You don’t get a future out of it.” That isn’t true, but it’s also not their fault for thinking that way. Our parents grew up in certain environments. They want their children to follow specific, successful tracks. But for the younger generation, eSports is a legitimate sport. Players train for hours and hours every day, and viewers get the spirit of the game just as much as other sports fans do. Go to a financial institution consultant startup, and they’ll advise you that eSports could be a career path for a lot of young teenagers.

You’ve seen the value of a cross-cultural business experience. What did working for Hong Kong and US companies teach you?

I understand that for different cultures, different perspectives will lead to success. We can embrace these differences, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t also commonalities in between.

Everything is changing: technology, the financial world, economics, everything. But I think that we have to embrace these external forces, too. It’s like an ocean. Some parts have ripples, while others lie flat. There’s no right or wrong as long as you embrace all these situations while still maintaining a sense of who you are.

Moreover, there are some problems that individual countries simply cannot solve on their own. Climate change, for example, is an urgent matter that requires teamwork. It is crucial that nations work together to tackle the problem in the next five years.

What was your relationship with Stanford prior to receiving the offer from MSx?

The first time I visited the GSB was during the time I was at Morgan Stanley. I had met some MSx alumni; they were fantastic people and my friends. After learning about the program, I came to Stanford to check it out for myself. It was a lot like love at first sight.

I love the campus, and so do my kids. Every year before COVID, we would come to campus just to explore and have fun. So, prior to applying, I knew the environment was great, and I also really admired the MSx program in general. I was living a good professional and personal life before, but MSx was one of my longtime dreams. I asked myself last year if I would regret not applying when I was 70, and the answer was very clear. So, I applied, and I got in.

In what ways were you uniquely involved in MSx?

I was the MSx ambassador for the class of ’24. I hosted a series of virtual chats, where I shared a lot about academic life and also life on campus. Last June, we were all worrying about what kinds of classes to take and such, but we were the most curious to know about the general environment and also classes outside of the GSB. As the MSx ambassador, I was able to bring back stories to my dorm room in Munger, where I would then share my firsthand experiences with an online audience.

Tell me about your newest project, GSD Ventures.

The meaning of GSD is “get stuff done.” In 10 years, my cofounder, Jason Tu, and I envision our fund to become a multi-billion-dollar fund.

Jason is the founder of MioTech, which I invested in while at Guotai Junan International. He’s also a Stanford MBA alumnus and has rich industry experience. Our fund focuses on two vertical domains. One is applying artificial intelligence in vertical fields, where we firmly believe that AI will permeate all industries. The other area is climate tech and sustainable investment, where we firmly believe that investments should bring value to society and humanity in addition to financial returns.

During my time at MSx, [lecturer in management] Robert Siegel offered me some great advice on GSD Ventures. I asked him, “What if my venture fails?” He said that no matter what, we should keep trying different things. For example, a crab with a hard shell will have to change the hard shell to a soft shell. It’s always pivoting because if the crab does not change its shell, the crab will die. That was an “a-ha” moment for me. It was so enlightening for me to know that change is necessary to survive.

At the same time, it’s super important to have a north star, to have a model. As you walk this ever-changing road, having a north star will protect you from getting misled or lost.

Photos by Julia Yu

Peter Chiu, MS ’23
Peter Chiu
MS ’23
Managing Partner and Cofounder, GSD Ventures
Beijing, China
MS, Stanford Graduate School of Business
MBA, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
BA, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Professional Experience
Managing Partner and Cofounder, GSD Ventures
Managing Director and Head of Private Equity, Guotai Junan International
Managing Director, BOCOM International
Current Profile