26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Kurt Kaltenegger, group vice-president and head of technology, ABB Technology Ventures
Kurt Kaltenegger leads ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), the corporate venture capital unit of Switzerland-based industrials group Asea Brown Boveri, who has had his hand in almost all the successes of the corporate venturing team since 2010.
Kaltenegger, who joined ABB in 1991 after receiving his PhD in physics from Montanistic University in Austria, said: “After I built up the ABB research centre in China and established and pioneered the role of chief technology officer China for ABB from January 2007 to February 2010, I returned to the ABB headquarters in Switzerland to build up ATV together with Girish Nadkarni, who had already started late in 2009 working on the CVC concept for ABB.
“In ATV’s first years I was in the role of head of technology to screen the global technology development landscape for disruptive game changing technologies in scope and in vicinity to ABB’s business, was leading a number of due diligences in regard to equity investments and finally started to lead investments in early 2015.
“Besides my involvement in  investments together with [ATV founder and former head] Girish Nadkarni, I lead the deals for PointGrab, an Israel startup in deep-learning-based vision sensor technology for home automation, in the E round investment and took the lead in the investment into Automata, an early stage robotics startup.”
In the past year, the unit has made investments in electrical charging technology developer FreeWire Technologies and In-Charge Energy, AI processor producer Hailo and Numocity Technologies, the developer of a mobility management platform.
Given his already near-20 years at ABB by the time he joined ATV, Kaltenegger said he was swayed the force of Nadkarni’s personality to join its then-nascent CVC unit.
He added: “My main motivation to be active in the CVC environment is that a corporate venture unit doing scouting and direct investments has a much stronger lever to impact the long-term future of the mother company than most of the other functions in the company.
“Equity investment give a limited-risk way to probe the future with high-risk disruptive technologies and gives an early learning to the company.”
These insights can be impactful, Kaltenegger said, noting that he had “changed ABB business units’ minds in regard to 3D printing, from a lukewarm interest to a number of activities and one investment, Persimmon.
“I could affect some directional changes in our R&D roadmaps, because of the insight into global dealflow and technology trends in our sector.”
However, he admitted that convincing ABB that corporate venturing was more than pre-acquisition dealflow and that startups could be as valuable partners as big name companies and the not-invented-here syndrome was a challenge.
As to the future, Kaltenegger said he was looking “to find new ways how a CVC institution could be combined with other elements of business development to get a well-established element of future agile business growth via technology leadership”.
And for the CVC industry he encouraged greater exchange of information, invitation to co-investments and a cross CVC dialogue, “as long as there is a non-competing situation” and they have “a clear mission and mission-aligned key performance indicators”.
GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.