The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Reese Schroeder, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital
After winning GCV’s lifetime achievement award last year, Reese Schroeder has maintained the discipline and focus that has made his name in the industry over the previous two decades.
He said: “In 2016, we made five new investments, four of which are public – SeamlessDocs, DevMynd, RapidSOS and Neurala. All these investments have a working relationship with Motorola Solutions. We also had a couple of great exits – API.ai and Eyefluence, both of which were sold to Google [for undisclosed amounts]. Finally, we instituted a project management process for post-investment portfolio company management, which we highlighted at the Canadian Corporate Innovation summit.”
And there are no plans to stop. Schroeder said: “In 2017, we intend to add about six new investments to the portfolio. Our focus is on edge analytics – the intelligent edge – voice technologies, such as chatbots and intelligent assistants, the internet of things, cybersecurity and mobile apps.
“We have a great pipeline and are very enthusiastic that 2017 will be another great year for Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.”
The group is also hoping for another exit with ShopSpotter, a developer of gunshot detection systems, planning to float on the Nasdaq stock exchange, according to a regulatory filing. ShopSpotter had raised about $70m, with Motorola Solutions owning 15.6%, before the initial public offering.
Its investments include last month’s backing of emergency assistance technology developer RapidSOS, which closed a $14m series A round.
Schroeder’s initial involvement with Motorola’s corporate venturing unit came when it was set up in 1999. He assisted on the transactional side of the business until 2004, when he was made managing director of Motorola Ventures, seven years before the company split into Motorola Solutions and Motorola Mobility, subsequently acquired by Google.
The unit has always focused on investments with potential strategic value to the wider company, Schroeder said for last year’s lifetime achievement award. “If it was strictly a financial investment we would find great companies and invest in them. But as a strategic investor we have to find a strategic thesis for the companies that we meet and then we have to try to connect them to the right people in the business and make sure they have the right level of support.
“As the business has grown and changed, the kinds of company we invest in has also changed. So today, if you look at our business, which is very public-safety mission-critical intel-focused, we are very focused on companies which can help accelerate our business in that space. This is very different from seven or eight years ago when we were investing in companies that would help our cable set-top box business or our mobile phone business.”
Paul Steinberg, chief technology officer at Motorola Solutions, said: “Reese was in on the ground floor when Motorola formed its venture group in 1999 and we have done well over 200 investments since that time. This is one of the longest-standing corporate venturing groups in industry.
“The thing about Reese that makes him amazing is that there is very little he has not seen. He is very innovative in creating win-win situations with investments, he is very creative around deal constructs, and he is very thoughtful not only of what is good for Motorola Solutions but also for investees.”
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