26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Lakshmikanth Ananth, CEO and managing partner, Next47

Lak Ananth has been chief executive and managing partner of Next47, Germany-based conglomerate Siemens’s corporate venturing unit, since the unit was formed in October 2016.

Next47 has backed more than 20 companies developing deep technologies including artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality, cybersecurity, autonomous transportation, the internet of things, robotics, advanced manufacturing and automation.

Most recently, the unit led a $100m series C round for flash storage technology provider Vast Data in April 2020 at a $1.2bn valuation. Founded in 2016, the company has created a scalable all-flash data storage system that is intended to eliminate the traditionally high costs of the technology when compared to hard drive storage. The series C proceeds will fuel international growth.

Ananth said at the time of the investment: “The world’s most valuable resource is now data, and Vast Data’s highly disruptive infrastructure concept unlocks access to massive reserves of information – eliminating the complexity and compromises that have resulted from the long-standing performance and capacity trade-off.

“In a little over a year, Vast has delivered some truly record-breaking business results and we’re thrilled to partner with them to further scale the business.”

In addition, Next47 has reinvested in logistics management platform developer Bringg’s $30m series D round, having first backed its $25m series C funding in January 2019. The unit also contributed to an $80m series C round for video security technology provider Verkada in January 2020 after backing its $15m series A and $40m series B in previous years.

Next47 has positioned itself as more independent of Siemens’s business units and an evergreen fund able to reinvest profits from its €1bn ($1.2bn) fund. The fund has a three Cs model – providing capital, creating intrapreneurs through the Next47 Accelerator which they run in partnership with Alchemist.

For his Powerlist profile in 2017, Ananth said: “As a Siemens subsidiary, we have both an external and an internal vision. The external vision is to be the world’s premium address for ventures between corporates and startups, as well as a role model for open innovation. The internal vision is to shape Siemens’s core businesses of tomorrow.”

Prior to joining Next47 at its inception in 2016, Ananth founded and built Hewlett Packard Pathfinder, the corporate venturing arm of computing technology producer Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), bringing together venture investing and revenue-generating business development for portfolio companies from HPE customers.

Ananth was an investor in cloud security software provider Adallom (acquired by software producer Microsoft), big data processing platform operator HortonWorks (acquired by enterprise data software provider Cloudera) and D2iQ, the cloud software and services provider formerly known as Mesosphere. He also previously worked in strategy at networking equipment supplier Cisco Systems, where he led the acquisitions of cloud service Meraki and IT and networking products maker Starent Networks, and invested in automation provider Control4.

GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF