The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Bernhard Mohr, Evonik
Christian Kullmann, CEO at Germany-based chemicals company Evonik Industries, in nominating Bernhard Mohr for the GCV Powerlist said: “Venture capital has established itself as a key pillar of Evonik’s innovation and growth strategy.
“Partnering with innovative startup companies and funds creates excellent opportunities for accelerating the development of new businesses and opening up future growth fields.
“Venture capital contributes to realise our vision to build the best in class specialty chemicals company. Additionally, the entrepreneurialism and the pioneering spirit that prevails in young technology firms stimulates our own innovation culture.
“ Since inception in 2012, Bernhard Mohr and his team have gained a strong reputation throughout Evonik helping the group to understand and materialise the strong value of corporate venturing.”
Mohr joined Evonik in 2012 to set up its corporate venturing activities, and became managing director of Evonik Venture Capital in 2013.
He has more than 20 years of professional experience in the chemicals and venture capital industry, having joined Evonik Industries after five and a half years working at Germany-based chemicals company peer BASF’s corporate venturing unit.
Before moving to BASF Venture Capital, Mohr held multiple roles at BASF. Between 1985 and 1996 he studied chemistry in Germany and the US and had postgraduate assignments in Japan, the US and France, working with Nobel laureates Robert Grubbs and Jean-Pierre Sauvage, including Airborne Oil & Gas, Algal Scientific, Biosynthetic Technologies, FRX Polymers, JeNaCell, Nanocomp, Synoste, Vivasure and Wiivv.
Mohr said: “Evonik Venture Capital has a portfolio of about 25 investments, direct and indirect, since inception in 2012 with seven new and about the same number of follow-on investments concluded in 2017.
“The investment activities are global and include fund allocations in China as well as the first direct investment in Israel, [Velox, a digital printing technology developer,] in 2017. Investments are guided by strategic goals and financial return. The investments are oriented towards the company’s growth engines and to support Evonik’s digital transformation.
“In 2017 Evonik Venture Capital expanded its activities into the digital space with the investment in Digital-plus Partners. The growth equity investor with a fund size of €300m is focused on B2B [business-to-business] technology companies offering digital solutions and business models.
“In 2017, Evonik Venture Capital strengthened its global footprint by opening an office in Shanghai, China [and hiring Er Ning Cao as investment director]. We now operate four offices in Germany, the US and China. The team consists of 10 seasoned investment professionals including Lutz Stoeber, a 2017 and 2018 GCV Rising Star who is responsible for Evonik Venture Capital’s operations in North America.
Syndication with other well-known and successful investors is paramount for Evonik Venture Capital, current co-investors include a large number of reputable corporate (BP, Shell, Monsanto, BASF, Sime Darby, Sumitomo, Chevron, Saudi Aramco, Subsea7) and financial (Capricorn, Israel Cleantech, Citic, PMV, Formation 8, Eclipse, Finnvera, High-Tech Gruenderfonds) investors.
Most recently, Evonik Venture Capital led a $12m round for Nanotech Industrial Solutions (NIS), a US-based lubricant additives supplier, and expanded its activities to China with two initial fund investments, including a strategic commitment to the China-based, agriculture and nutrition-focused Hosen Capital Fund III. Its other In addition, limited partnerships include Pangaea Ventures, Emerald Technology Ventures and GRC SinoGreen Fund.
Asked about his ambitions last year, Mohr cited maintaining Evonik’s position as one of the most active CVC investors in the chemicals and materials space, expanding Evonik’s investment activities into the digital space, and increasing the company’s venture capital footprint in Asia.