The Top 10: #6 Madura Wijewardena, head of business development, Comcast Ventures

Madura Wijewardena is head of business development at Comcast Ventures, mass media group Comcast Corporation’s corporate venture capital subsidiary. He leads strategic partnerships to drive value between Comcast Ventures’ portfolio companies and business units of Comcast and outside companies.

Wijewardena helps structure new commercial partnerships that leverage Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal and Sky’s platforms and reach to provide more capital to Comcast Ventures’ portfolio companies.

Regarding his role, Wijewardena said: “I am the head of business development at Comcast Ventures. Comcast Ventures is the venture capital affiliate of Comcast Corporation, which is a global media and technology company with three primary operating businesses in Comcast Cable, NBCUniversal and Sky.

“My role is to design and execute partnerships that drive strategic value in both directions between Comcast and our portfolio companies. In this role, I am especially focused on partnerships that leverage Comcast’s unique platforms with our portfolio. These unlock strategic value and efficiencies inside Comcast and deliver unique value-added benefits to our portfolio.

“I have been in my current role at Comcast Ventures for nearly two years – I transferred to Comcast Ventures in January 2019 after nearly six years at Comcast Corporation.

“We think of Comcast Ventures as the Lewis and Clark of Comcast exploring five to seven years into the vast terrain of unknowns for opportunities to drive strategic value. The ability to look ahead into the future for these opportunities, and the chance to unlock strategic value inside our large and complex operating business units by partnering with them on these opportunities, attracted me to Comcast Ventures. I think of my role as being both in the future and the present. I find this exciting because one without the other would not be as rewarding.”

During the covid-19 crisis, Madura was pivotal in organising go-to-market partnerships with Comcast Business (CB). Portfolio companies including workforce productivity management platform Hive, wellness video provider Grokker, hospitality data software provider SevenRooms and StellaService, which supplies customer service software Stella Connect, all provided special services to CB’s small business customers. And these services benefitted from exposure and new customers during a challenging time.

More specifically, Hive project and task management platform offered CB customers access to Hive Enterprise and Workspace add-ons free of cost for 60 days; Grokker content platform offered engaging content for fitness, mindfulness, sleep, stress reduction, nutrition and financial wellbeing to CB customers free of cost for 90 days; Direct Delivery by SevenRooms online ordering platform teamed up with CB to provide restaurants with a special offer – a discounted rate and three months free plus no setup fees; and Stella Connect partnered CB to offer its call centre management platform free for 90 days, to help businesses to connect customer feedback, quality assurance and coaching, giving contact centre leaders visibility into performance.

Before joining Comcast Ventures, Wijewardena led broadband market analysis at Comcast, which supported corporate regulatory and competitive strategies and M&A. He also led partnerships with external thought-leader influencers to drive strategic goals.

Earlier in his career, he worked in demographic data analysis and structured and negotiated telecommunications, technology and media transactions in the Asia-Pacific region for multinationals.

He holds a master’s degree from the University of Chicago focusing on quantitative analysis and a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Sydney, Australia.