The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Edgar Hardless, SingTel Innov8
In 2012, Edgar Hardless took over as chief executive of SingTel Innov8, the corporate venturing unit of the Singapore-based telecoms company, from Yvonne Kwek but since then he has made the role his own.
Kwek was the first chief executive of the unit after it was set up with an S$200m fund ($150m) in 2010, subsequently increased to S$250m. Hardless stepped up to the role from his position as vice-president of strategic investments, held since 2008, and an earlier role held for two years as head of Singtel’s first open innovation unit, focused on identifying emerging technologies.
Last year, Innov8 made investments in Silverfort, an Israel-based cybersecurity company raised $2.5m in its seed round, Zeotap, a Germany-based advertising supplier raised $12.5m in its series B round, and the rest in the US: Synack ($21m), Cardlytics ($20m D round), CounterTack ($20m D round), Qubole ($25m), Area17 and Balbix. These deals were primarily in cybersecurity, with Attivo raising an undisclosed amount and Airspace announcing its $20m A round, both this year, but its four exits were more diversified.
Last year, Cardlytics, a US-based card-linked purchase-based intelligence platform, floated on the Nasdaq stock exchange; Guavus, a US-based real-time big data processing and analytics, was acquired by Thales for up to $215m; Fireglass, an Israel-based agentless isolation solution, was acquired by Symantec for a reported $250m; and Kai Square, a Singapore-based video analytics provider, was acquired by Singtel.
Another of the investors in Kai Square, which had closed a S$4m B round in 2014 had been the local university’s student startups group, NUS Enterprise.
Last year Singtel Innov8 and National University of Singapore’s entrepreneurial arm NUS Enterprise, launched Singapore’s first integrated regional cyber security hub to spawn and support early stage and growing startups, entrepreneurs and academics from around the world.
Previously, Innov8 was part of a consortium of peers – Deutsche Telekom’s Hubraum, Orange Fab and Telefónica Open Future – that formed an alliance, subsequently called Go Ignite, to connect startup ecosystems across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East by inviting participation in five categories – internet of things, cybersecurity, big data analytics, content delivery and customer experience enhancement.
Collaboration can be a hard thing to do well but Singtel Innov8 has proved adept at all areas of corporate venturing under Hardless, who studied at University of Bath in the UK.