The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Suzanna Chiu, Amadeus IT Group
After two consecutive years being singled out as GCV Rising Star, it is perhaps little surprise Suzanna Chiu has become head of ventures at Amadeus Ventures, corporate venture capital (CVC) unit of Spain-based travel software and technology services provider Amadeus IT Group.
Her promotion comes following the departure last month of Katherine Grass, last year’s GCV Powerlist award winner, to travel and transport venture capital specialist Thayer Ventures, to help it expand into Europe and Asia from the US. Grass has also set up Sharp Wire Partners as the consultancy’s managing partner.
Based in Madrid, where the firm is headquartered, Chiu started off as senior manager of strategic planning in 2012, until she was appointed to head of ventures in 2014.
Prior to joining Amadeus, she was senior manager at Macquarie Capital Advisers, where she led several mergers and acquisitions transactions in the telecoms and media sectors, based between London and Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, she also served as lead consultant for business-to-business e-commerce services provider Sesami, and as consultant for Accenture.
At Amadeus, Chiu has significantly helped develop the group’s corporate venturing activity, as the unit has so far supported 10 companies, altogether representing a valuation of about $1bn, and completed three exits. The latter included the secondary sale of its stake in Spain-based taxi app Cabify, which subsequently reaped $120m in funding through a series-C round led by Rakuten in 2016, and is currently reportedly aiming to raise up to $500m for its series D to fund a Brazilian expansion.
In 2017, Amadeus further expanded its portfolio with three new companies, strengthening its focus on bringing new technology into the travel industry. These included Canada-based reservations and ticketing management company Betterez; Spanish startup Situm Technologies, which develops multi-sensor indoor localisation technology for smartphones; and UK-based Avuxi, described as “the startup that ranks the popularity of every place on earth,” providing data to travellers to help them plan their trip.
According to Chiu for her Rising Stars profile, the unit is also seeing great results from some of its existing investments, which are growing strong operationally and have attracted significant follow-on interest.
Grass, then head of innovation and ventures at Amadeus IT Group featured on the 2017 GCV Powerlist, in her nomination of Chiu said: “Suzanna has been the main driving force in the overall investment direction and processes for Amadeus Ventures.
“In 2017, we were aiming to close the highest number of deals by year-end, and with strategic value creation very close to our heart, we jointly identified and executed investments with our business units with clear strategic values and commercial plans.
“The year 2017 has been great for Amadeus Ventures, and she has led a large part of that success.”
Aside from its investments, Amadeus has also expanded its innovation approach by adding an open applications programming interface (API) and partnerships, helping businesses that do not make it to “the top of the list” identify commercialisation opportunities with the corporation without receiving funding.
“As we think about the combination of venture-partnerships-open API, this completes a range of programs to interact with external players and drive value,” added Grass. “Venture however continues to be a key component to this, and we continue to add deals to the program.”
A graduate of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she graduated with a statistics-focused bachelor of science, Chiu completed a finance concentration MBA at the London Business School. She is also a keen photographer and traveller.