Fellows Directory

Tharon Smith

Strontium Group

Tharon works in partnership with emerging market venture capitalists, governments, and institutional LPs to develop cross-border venture partnerships for profitable growth and portfolio exits. Strontium Capital (GP) is a flagship US-China venture fund focused on environmental technology; Strontium Capital Markets group has a unique focus on emerging markets and FinTech innovation; Strontium Sports and Entertainment group involved in NBA sports marketing and movie studio production activities in emerging markets.

Director of Fudan University Venture Capital Research Institute, Tharon is focused specifically on the indigenous development of science and technological innovation, and domestic venture capital in China. In this role, she leads international exchange trips, interview-based research discussions and performance dialogues for both United States and Chinese venture capitalists.

Tharon has a particular interest in companies focused on developing long-term strategic relationships through mergers and acquisitions with domestic Chinese firms, corporations, and universities. Through her work, she has developed a nuanced perspective on Chinese technology commercialization and performance enhancement activities.

With nearly 20 years of China experience, Tharon set out independently to investigate the success and performance of domestic Chinese venture capitalists. Applying an institutional framework approach, this pioneering research has highlighted the role and characteristics of government involvement, entrepreneurial development, and cultural sensitivities necessary for success and improved performance in US-China commercial development. The Strontium Group is working to scale this model to other emerging markets and unique geographies.

Education, Personal, and Fellowship

Tharon earned her Doctoral degree in Economics from Claremont Graduate University, where she served as graduate student council president and was selected for a three-year fellowship by the Chinese Government to conduct her dissertation field research in China. She holds a tri-discipline Master's degree in Business, Politics, and Economics, and a Bachelor's in economics.

Tharon serves as a Board member of the Mango Tree Foundation, the SOMA research project. She speaks fluent Mandarin and has lived in and out of China for more than 15 years.

As a graduated member of Class 15, Tharon served her fellowship at the Fudan University Venture Capital Research Institute in Shanghai, under the mentorship of Director Dr. Zhang Luyang and Drucker Executive Management Faculty member Dr. Vijay Sathe.