The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Jonathan Tudor, Centrica
In October Jonathan Tudor left petroleum producer BP, where he was managing director of its BP Ventures unit, and accepted “an offer I could not refuse” to head a corporate venturing subsidiary of UK-listed energy utility Centrica.
Tudor, the winner of a Global Corporate Venturing Rising Stars award in 2016, had been venture director at Castrol InnoVentures, a division of BP, before its reorganisation into BP Ventures in the past year.
Tudor had worked at lubricants provider Castrol and BP, where he had found ample support as a “self-confessed geek, who likes technology with the allure of making money in addition to shifting the corporate dial,” since 2012.
Following three years at glass manufacturer Schott, Tudor’s initial move into investing was as an investment director at government technology contractor Qinetiq’s venture capital arm, Qinetiq Ventures, from 2002 to 2007, before its secondary buyout backed by Coller Capital led to the formation of CG Innovation Partners.
In addition to his core activities, Tudor is head of British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association’s CVC committee, and wants to “share best practice on how to manage strategic measures, as well as work on training and the professionalisation” of the work done by corporate venturers.
Tudor brings a decade of venture experience to Centrica, where Sam Salisbury and Christophe Defert, directors and co-heads of Centrica Innovations (CI), have scaled up a unique blend of corporate and impact venturing for the utility.
Centrica launched CI in January 2017 and plans to invest £100m ($125m) in startups over the next five years. The unit will incorporate the £10m Ignite social impact fund it formed in 2014, and which won GCV’s corporate impact venturing award in 2016.
Christophe Defert has spent seven years at Anglo-American energy utility Centrica after completing his MBA from Wharton business school in 2010.
His move into ventures in February 2017 from being chief of staff to the CEO of Centrica’s US-based business, Direct Energy, came with a renewed push into corporate venture capital (CVC).
Sam Salisbury and Defert, directors of Centrica Innovations (CI), had scaled up a unique blend of corporate and impact venturing for the utility before being joined by Jonathan Tudor from BP Ventures in October.
Centrica launched CI in January 2017 and planned to invest £100m ($125m) in startups over the next five years. The unit will incorporate the £10m Ignite social impact fund it formed in 2014, and which won GCV’s corporate impact venturing award in 2016.
As Iain Conn, Centrica’s group chief executive, said for the GCV Powerlist 2017 awards: “The launch of Centrica Innovations is an important step in identifying and responding to the changing needs of our customers. The new venture will ensure innovation is embedded across our business and will allow us to invest in the technologies that can support our customers into the future. We are already investing £1.2bn to 2020 in our connected home and distributed energy and power businesses, helping residential and business customers take control of their energy and save money.”
Centrica’s deals included an undisclosed amount into LO3 Energy, a US-based energy-focused blockchain service.
LO3 has a blockchain-based platform to enable peer-to-peer energy marketplaces and accelerate the transition to a distributed energy future after helping set up the world’s first blockchain-based microgrid and peer to peer energy transactions in Brooklyn, New York.
At the time, Defert said: “We look forward to working with LO3 on blockchain-based projects more broadly across Centrica, and the opportunity to provide our customers with more flexibility and control over how they buy and use their energy.”
However, Tudor in the GCV outlook survey said he was cautious about dealmaking when valuations were overhyped. Sensible advice from an experienced investor will help Centrica steer its path over the next few years.