26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Oreoluwa Adeyemi, managing director and head, HSBC Strategic Innovation Investments

Ore Adeyemi has since last year been managing director and head for HSBC’s Strategic Innovation Investments (SII) unit, the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm for the UK-based bank.

The past year has been successful for him and the SII team, according to Adeyemi, who said: “I formally took on global responsibility for the team and together we facilitated connections to well over 100 companies for our HSBC colleagues through an extensive network of companies and VC investors.

“It was also a defining year in which the SII program became fully established in the US with my presence there, and the team is now well-positioned to take on new challenges with a renewed mandate.”

Adeyemi joined HSBC in 2006 to concentrate on mergers and acquisitions transactions, then shifting in 2008 to a senior associate and eventually an investment director role for Principal Investments, HSBC’s private equity (PE) arm. He was a founding member of the team, which was focused on Africa investments and also co-invested alongside global private equity firms in deals in Europe and North America.

Shortly after SII’s launch in 2014, the unit appointed Adeyemi UK-based investment director before naming him managing director and head of North American investments in 2017, which involved him relocating to the US city of San Francisco.

Adeyemi was selected a Global Corporate Venturing Rising Star in 2017 and 2018 and has since then overseen a handful of financial technology deals, including fintech app operator OpenFin.

“On the investments front, we delivered five new investments and five follow-on investments in 2019,” Adeyemi added. “We had two notable exits in Crowdstrike – through an IPO – and Kyriba – through a trade sale to PE – both unicorns that provided excellent returns. But most importantly, we continued to have a high level of engagement with these companies and our portfolio.

“I have maintained that our aim as the SII team is to be a gold standard for the world of corporate venturing and we take this goal very seriously as a team.”

His team includes two other GCV Rising Stars: investment manager Thomas Bussey and investment director Moran Levinovitz, and SII has hired a portfolio manager, Alexander Barkley, who helps liaise between SII’s portfolio companies and HSBC.

In the coming months, Adeyemi intends to increase SII’s presence in Asia, saying: “We made our first investment in the region and hired our first team member based in Asia in 2019.”

In addition to the strategic value SII’s investments have already brought to HSBC business units globally, the unit has invested across three different continents and from series A to series E, showing the reach of the bank and the team’s adaptability.

As part of a large corporate, decision-making may not be as streamlined as the financial VCs, but Adeyemi noted: “Over the last one to two years the industry as a whole seems to be starting to appreciate the different value that a CVC or strategic investor can bring to a round, and so more often than not, we see this as an expectation built into round planning.

“Now five years in, we have a significant positive track record behind us as investors as well as the HSBC brand name and the challenge for the next five years will be trying to prioritise the opportunities we see across the globe.”

Having served as an adviser to funds and entities looking to set up similar CVC units within financial services and other industry segments, Adeyemi said: “A value-add from me has always been bringing insights into venture team building having been a founding member of two investment arms – PE and VC – within HSBC.”

Prior to HSBC, Adeyemi was a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, and had stints in technology and investing at Hewlett Packard, Agilent Technologies and the Dubai Development and Investment Authority (Dubai Holding).

Adeyemi holds an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Sloan School of Management, and also earned a bachelor of science from MIT.

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