26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Christopher Bartlett, head, Verizon Ventures

Since October 2018, Chris Bartlett has been senior vice-president of corporate development at US-based telecommunications firm Verizon and head of its corporate venturing unit, Verizon Ventures.

Verizon generated $131.9bn of revenue in 2019, and the firm concentrated on improving its 5G and related technology following the idea of ‘5G network built right’, according to Verizon chairman and chief executive Hans Vestberg in the 2019 annual report.

The concept encompasses areas including mixed reality, the internet of things (IoT), advanced robotics, 3D printing, wearable tech and other emerging technologies.

Verizon Ventures has likewise been targeting developers of 5G-related technologies such as connected devices and hardware, media and entertainment, commerce and advertising, infrastructure and networking, as well as data and analytics.

At Verizon Ventures, Bartlett oversees joint ventures, strategic investment activity, acquisitions and divestitures. The unit has invested in more than 70 companies to date across industries and technologies since its launch in 2000.

At the Global Corporate Venturing & Innovation (GCVI) Summit in January 2020, Bartlett highlighted the unit’s new focus on 5G. The impact of 5G would be larger than previously believed, he said, adding that Verizon is already building a network to help devices and networks to connect.

Bartlett predicted 5G would start gaining traction in 2021 and the following year would be even more important for the technology. Verizon Ventures had already been investing in companies with foundation tech for 5G, and it is a strategic topic for many CEOs and chief innovation officers across the telecoms industry.

Verizon Ventures’ investment activities could be a proxy, enabling more efficient connections, initially in the industrial sector, but increasingly more on the enterprise and supply chain sides. Bartlett added: “5G would enable industrial IoT, real-time analytics and faster decision-making.”

Samy Ben Aissa, a managing director at Verizon Ventures who was named a Global Corporate Venturing Emerging Leader at GCVI Summit 2020, noted the biggest investment opportunities in 2020 would be “emerging use cases enabled by 5G, especially millimetre wave spectrum, as well as edge computing”.

Verizon Ventures has been conducting Israel-based deals actively led by GCV Rising Star 2018 Merav Rotem-Naaman, a managing director based in Tel Aviv. In February, the unit joined several corporates to take part in IoT technology developer Wiliot’s series B round, and a month earlier it had backed another Israel-based company Iguazio, which develops machine-learning software.

In addition, the unit’s Israeli branch exited SoundBetter, a US-based music production services marketplace, which was purchased by music streaming platform Spotify for an undisclosed amount in September 2019.

In April 2020, another Verizon Ventures portfolio company AdStage, a US-based media analytics platform developer, was acquired by marketing software provider TapClicks for an undisclosed amount.

Bartlett came from investment banking firm Morgan Stanley, where he had been a managing director leading North America-based media and communications mergers and acquisitions transactions for nearly 15 years from 2004.

Before his 14-year stint at Morgan Stanley, Bartlett was an associate at Bear Stearns, an investment banking firm which was acquired by its peer JPMorgan Chase in 2008, in media and communications M&A for two years. He started his career in 1996 as an analyst at Arthur Andersen.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF