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26 November 2012

2012's Powerlist 100

The global backgrounds of the Powerlist 100 and their interests in numerous sectors and regions underlie the importance they bring to bear on creating the future – not just for their own companies but also for the entrepreneurs striving to make the world a better place.

Author: Toby Lewis and James Mawson

Welcome to the inaugural Global Corporate Venturing Powerlist 100.This supplement looks at the people behind the most influential corporate venturing units ranked by Global Corporate Venturing to see the powerbrokers’ backgrounds and how it has helped shape the organisations and deals they have done.

We ranked the top 20 from the 100, with the remainder placed in alphabetical order. The judgement of the top 20 is our choice – and a difficult one given the calibre ofall those in the list and many more in the industry itself.

A number of firms had multiple candidates who would havegraced the list but we limited ourselves to one person, the most senior, in a corporate venturing team or with direct responsibility for the work they do.

There was intense debate about the order and who would make the cut for the 20 and 100 given there are now more than 750 corporate venturing units around the world. But, as ever, the harder the decision the greater the testament to the quality of people under review.

It is with great pleasure, therefore, to say that Charles Searle from South Africa-based media group Naspers’ corporate venturing unit has taken the top spot in the Powerlist 100, narrowly beating into second place Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital.

While Searle has flown under the radar of man, his deals at Myriad International Holdings have included two of the best-returning deals in venture history – China-based Tencent, which now has a market capitalisation of more than $60bn and Russian peer Mail.Ru, with its equity value a 10th of Tencent’s. 

Naspers’ strategy of backing talented portfolio company managers for the long term and sharing insights across borders based on a macro theme of investment is powerful. It also requires consistent application with senior managers who are willing to ignore occasional myopia from their own shareholders and analysts.Many others in the industry, however, would be easy to imagine ranked at the top of the list.

Our top 10 included US-based media company IDG Capital Partners’ Hugo Shong, Google Ventures’ Bill Maris, Siemens Venture Capital’s Ralf Schnell, IBM Venture Capital’s Claudia Fan Munce, Junlian’s Zhu Linan, GM Ventures’ Jon Lauckner, Citi Ventures’ Deborah Hopkins and Novartis Ventures’ Reinhard Ambros.

These figures and the full list of 100 people will set the agenda of some of the world’s biggest companies for years to come.

The global backgrounds of the Powerlist 100 and their interests in numerous sectors and regions underlie the importance they bring to bear on creating the future – not just for their own companies but also for the entrepreneurs striving to make the world a better place.

And now, for the first time, their contribution and skill,and occasional good fortune, can be recognised and celebrated.

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