The top 25: Tamara Steffens, Mony Hassid and Samir Kumar, managing directors, M12

M12, a corporate venture capital (CVC) group formed by US-based software and computer technology provider Microsoft, is jointly led by three managing directors: Tamara Steffens, Mony Hassid and Samir Kumar.

In the five years since M12 was launched, it has made over 100 investments with 15 exits, including one initial public offering.

Its recent investments include geospatial mapping technology developer Nextbillion.ai, identity management and security platform Authomize, fraud prevention technology provider Arkose Labs, business planning software developer Workboard, customer intelligence software developer Databook and application programming interface marketplace RapidAPI.

Based in San Francisco, Steffens leads investing and market development for North America and India and is the executive sponsor of the fund’s Female Founders Competition. She has an operational and entrepreneurial background having come from more than two decades of experience in Silicon Valley at both startups and large technology companies.

Her last startup was mobile productivity app operator Acompli, where she led sales and business development. Microsoft acquired Acompli (now Outlook Mobile) in 2014, after which Steffens took up a general manager role to lead business development for the broader Office 365 organisation.

Hassid, on the other hand, is based in Tel Aviv and specialises in areas including cloud, datacentre and cybersecurity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Having over 20 years of experience in VC, business development, research and development (R&D) and management, he had been a managing director at Qualcomm Ventures and Motorola Ventures – respective corporate venturing arms of mobile chipmaker Qualcomm and data communications equipment manufacturer Motorola – in Israel. He built both offices from scratch, helping them grow into the most established CVC programmes in the region.

Hassid has invested in 36 startups to date and currently serves on 12 boards in areas including applied artificial intelligence (AI), business applications, cybersecurity, datacentre and cloud, DevOps and semiconductors.

Hassid, who has helped drive 15 significant exits, specialises in finding deeptech companies with founding teams and uses his diverse background to assist entrepreneurs in building resilient and agile businesses.

Like Steffens, Kumar is also based in the Bay Area, where he manages investments globally targeting developers of AI and machine learning-focused quantum computing, robotics, autonomous systems, transportation and silicon.

Kumar manages a team developing theses for new technology areas and runs the fund’s technical and scientific advisory board. He also oversees the fund’s Vanguard Bets investment category, which consists of startups aiming for breakthroughs that will result in generational shifts in the technology landscape.

Prior to joining M12, Kumar was a senior director of business development and product management in Qualcomm’s corporate R&D group, which involved him leading early-stage product validation, partnerships, acquisitions and strategy for embedded machine learning, computer vision and heterogeneous computing.

Kumar began his career at Microsoft, where he spent several years leading product management and product planning efforts for enterprise mobility before joining Palm and Samsung.