The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): David Gilmour, BP

David Gilmour took responsibility for BP’s venturing activities at the end of 2016 after running Air BP, the aviation fuel supply business. He now leads the BP Ventures team as vice-president of business development in group technology at BP and has developed what he calls “a new strategy highlighting the importance of technology and venturing in enabling the transition to a lower-carbon economy”.

His appointment underlines three significant developments in BP’s venturing strategy. First, it has a much larger capital pool for investment. Second, its scope has broadened and now includes digital lower-carbon energy and power, mobility and electric vehicles, bio-products and carbon management. Third, there is a greater emphasis on supporting portfolio companies and on deploying their technologies across BP’s asset base.

The larger capital allocation means BP Ventures can now do bigger deals, such as its 2016 $30m investment in Fulcrum Bioenergy, a US business that converts waste to renewable aviation fuel, and in which Air BP was also an investor. It can also expand its team, resources and number of deals. Six investments were made last year, with others including Rocketroute (digital flight planning), Biosynthetic Technologies (biolubricant base oil), and Drover (ride-sharing). There were eight technology deployments – new projects involving a BP business unit deploying technology from the venture portfolio.

“We can invest smart and deploy fast,” said Gilmour. “Our investment in Fulcrum was closed three months after investment committee approval and BP is now very busy with Fulcrum on an operational level.”

Since December, when BP Ventures invested in BiSN Oil Tools, a developer of oil production products based in the UK and the US, there have been three deployments of its technology within BP in as many months. “They are struggling to keep up with our demand,” said Gilmour.

BP’s investment focus can best be described as broad, but focused. “We are not going out of the corporate footprint. We are not trying to create the next Google and Facebook,” said Gilmour. “But our footprint certainly includes the re-emergence of bio-energy and cleantech as well as new modes of mobility including vehicle electrification.”

In addition to venturing, Gilmour’s responsibilities include technology commercialisation, as well as strategy and planning activities for group technology. His emphasis is on venturing as a means of business development. “Venturing is now front and centre from a business perspective,” he explained. “My intention is that BP Ventures can lead to the development and growth of long-term businesses within the group.”