In November 2016, Lak Ananth left US-based enterprise IT company Hewlett Packard Enterprise to join Germany-based conglomerate Siemens as managing partner of its €1bn ($1.1bn) Next47 corporate venturing unit.
He has done a thorough reorganisation over the past 18 months. Among recent changes were the departure of Gerd Goette, who left after nearly 20 years as a corporate venture. Ralf Schnell, former head of Siemens Venture Capital before its effective incorporation into Next47 at its launch under Ananth became head of private equity at Siemens Financial Services, while new recruits include Susana Quintera-Plaza and Jack Eadie in Europe.
In the US, Ching-Yu Hu has joined Next47 as a principal based in its Palo Alto, California, office, together with Matthew Cowan, former co-founder of VC firm Bridgescale Partners, and TJ Rylander, who spent a decade as managing partner at In-Q-Tel, as partners.
The changing of the guard at Next47 as it positions itself as more independent of Siemens’ business units and an evergreen fund able to reinvest profits from its €1bn ($1.2bn) fund. The fund has a three C’s model of providing ‘capital’, ‘creating’ intrapreneurs through a partnership with accelerator Techstars and being a ‘catalyst’ to business units to open markets for startup portfolio companies.
Ananth reports to Joe Kaeser, Siemens’ CEO. For last year’s Powerlist, Ananth said: “Collaborating with Techstars is an important and exciting step for Next47 and Siemens. We are excited to provide Siemens employees access to the proven Techstars platform globally.
“As a Siemens subsidiary, we have both an external and an internal vision. The external vision is to be the world’s premium address for ventures between corporates and startups, as well as a role model for open innovation. The internal vision is to shape Siemens’ core businesses of tomorrow.
“A decisive factor will be the team’s ability to find opportunities and engage with the Siemens ecosystem. We have the ability to form a great business from just an idea in a short time. For instance, we have enabled a robotics business to develop eight generations of hardware within less than a year. We can offer access to some of the world’s most sought-after clients, including Siemens.”
Before heading Next47, Ananth developed and built the Hewlett Packard Pathfinder organisation, bringing together innovation strategy, venture investments, acquisitions and partnerships.
Earlier, Ananth worked in strategy and corporate development at Cisco Systems and was instrumental in the $2.9bn acquisition of Starent Networks, the $1.2bn acquisition of Meraki, and an investment in Control4.
Next47 – a reference to 1847, the year Siemens was founded – is has remade itself, now for the parent company.