The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Ritika Suri, Infosys
Setting up a $500m debut venture fund can create a wave of attention, especially in India. This is why Ritika Suri, who was promoted in October to executive vice-president and global head of corporate development at India-based technology provider Infosys and whose remit includes overseeing leadership of mergers and acquisitions and the Infosys Innovation Fund, was cautious about singling out any of her new team as a GCV Rising Star 2016.
For last year’s Powerlist award, Suri said: “When we set up Infosys, we knew our uniqueness as a CVC would be in the fact that we would be technology agnostic.”
She said Infosys would similarly seek to work with VCs and help vet ideas and plan entrepreneurs’ first products, given its IT services pedigree. The Infosys Innovation Fund is earmarked for global investments in disruptive new technologies in India and globally and includes a startup incubator for seed and early-stage growth.
Suri, whose MBA was from Leeds Business School in the UK, was previously senior vice-president and customer officer for the technology, innovation and products group at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, California, until August 2014.
Yusuf Bashir, managing director of the Infosys Innovation Fund, moved with Suri from SAP. The team has struck eight deals in the past year, including a $4m investment in US-based data discovery platform Waterline Data, as part of a $16m series B round that closed in February.
At the time, Suri said: “We see a need for automated data discovery solutions like Waterline Data in helping our clients achieve greater business value from their big data assets. This investment underscores our commitment to our clients to bring innovative big data solutions across our platforms and offerings.”
Waterline is one of about 10 deals and Suri was happy with the fund’s progress. In November, Infosys invested in California-based startup TidalScale and then in Danish startup Unsilo to boost its artificial intelligence and machine learning technology platforms.
And the group has already seen positive exits. Microsoft said this month it could pay up to $70m for the cloud optimisation platform Cloudyn, which has raised more than $20m in funding including $4m from Infosys last August.
Infosys also agreed to commit Rs316m ($4.6m) to the first close of venture capital firm Stellaris Venture Partners’ first fund. Stellaris – an early-stage venture fund established by partners Ritesh Banglani, Alok Goyal and Rahul Chowdhri, former executives at India-focused investment firm Helion Venture Partners – aims to raise $100m for its debut fund.