26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Sanjiv Parikh, managing partner, Avanta Ventures

Sanjiv Parikh is managing partner for Avanta Ventures, the corporate venturing subsidiary of US-based insurer CSAA Insurance, where he oversees venture capital deals, startup incubation and acceleration initiatives, and corporate development with partner Steve Bernardez.

Parikh helped CSAA launch the unit in 2017 and defined its areas of focus on insurance and financial technologies, advanced mobility and adjacent fields involving risk management and customer experience.

Bernardez was brought on board from an institutional venture capital firm, Onset Ventures, in March 2019 to help Avanta Ventures identify opportunities in verticals including mobility and insurtech, applying artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) and distributed ledger technologies.

Avanta Ventures represents CSAA, an American Automobile Association (AAA) insurance company which counts 53 million members, and helps the parent firm to navigate the innovation ecosystem in a bid to devise products and services for the wider AAA system.

Since it was formed three years ago, Avanta Ventures exited dashcam developer Owl Cameras (Owlcam), which was purchased by IoT hardware producer Xirgo Technologies in March 2020, with the unit having participated in its $18m series A funding two years prior.

Its other portfolio companies include emergency response technology developer RapidSOS, geospatial property data supplier Cape Analytics, automotive commerce technology Car IQ, insurance technology developer Kin Insurance and apartment sharing app Room8.

Customised travel insurance tool Pablow, AI-driven property and casualty insurance claims process facilitator InsurAnalytics, hospitality app You’re Welcome and Ottometric, an automotive supply chain-focused analytics provider, also received Avanta’s backing.

The unit, along with a score of organisations, partnered design consultancy Ideo’s corporate venturing arm, Ideo CoLab Ventures, in July 2019 to launch the Startup Studio scheme which targets blockchain technology startups.

Parikh came from more than 25 years of innovation growth for corporations including telecommunications firm SK Telecom, networking system supplier Ciena, IT infrastructure software supplier Sentilla, consumer electronics producer HTC and enterprise technology producer Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Prior to joining CSAA and founding Avanta Ventures in 2017, he conducted strategic investments, mergers and acquisitions, business development and partnerships vice-president (VP) of business and corporate development on behalf of SK Telecom in the Americas, in areas such as cloud infrastructure, IoT, media and analytics. He helped SK develop a cloud-based TV product with 17 million subscribers and sat on the boards of multiple startups and VC firms.

Before that, Parikh was an adviser to VP of software products and strategy at Ciena, concentrating on areas including software-defined networking, network function virtualisation and cloud computing.

Earlier, his senior VP of business development role at Sentilla involved Parikh selling the company to communications technology producer Ericsson.

His corporate venturing career started at software producer Microsoft, where he was one of the earliest members of what would become M12 (Microsoft Ventures), before joining Hewlett Packard as CVC managing director and eventually moving to a similar role at HTC, where he was VP of investments and corporate development.

Parikh holds a mechanical engineering degree with a minor in electrical engineering from University of California at Berkeley and an MBA from University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

GCV Powerlist 2020 PDF