The Top 25: #11 Amir Kabir, Munich Re / HSB Ventures
Amir Kabir is an investment principal at HSB Ventures, the US-based corporate venture capital arm of Germany-headquartered reinsurance firm Munich Re. The unit, which invests from seed to late stage, was established in 2015 and he was a member of the core founding team.
Kabir oversees early and growth-stage investments and gives support to portfolio companies, holding board positions at five of them. Apart from identifying investment opportunities, he also liaises with Munich Re’s internal business heads who fund the unit’s investments.
Jacqueline LeSage Krause, the unit’s managing director, said in her nomination of Kabir: “He is working on five deals at a time right now and, most importantly, has been critical in launching our newest fund – the Ergo Fund. He has helped to get that up and running and generated the early dealflow.”
Kabir said: “Over the coming five years, the fund will be providing venture capital for startups and young companies in three main areas – artificial intelligence along the entire insurance value chain, digital health and connected mobility.”
As the right-hand man to both LeSage Krause and the unit’s investment director Matt McElhattan, Kabir brought with him expertise from both institutional VC and startup dominions. He has been involved in more than 70% of the deals HSB Ventures has executed to date. He is a board observer on mobility software developer Ridecell, cyber-risk analysis platform supplier Zeguro and insurance platform Slice Labs.
Before joining HSB Ventures, Kabir collaborated with other venture funds, on both the US east and west coasts. He said: “I was part of the founding team at Sinewave Ventures, the first venture fund to build a platform connecting the public and private sector to bring innovation to the government space, where I helped to set up the fund and grow dealflow.
“After that, I worked for Route66 Ventures, a private investment firm focused on helping entrepreneurs shape the financial services landscape by providing venture capital and credit solutions to emerging financial technology and services companies. Route66 Ventures is an active investor in fintech and insuretech, and I did my first insuretech investment in 2014 in Germany-based insurance technology provider Simplesurance.”
Before moving to the US in 2014, he was based in Germany and was part of startup Legodo, a customer communication-management software developer, acquired in 2014 by Actuate, an analytics and customer communications software supplier. The two product portfolios complemented one another, and this led to the acquisition of Actuate by enterprise software provider OpenText at the end of that year.
Kabir was also an entrepreneur. He built and ran online shop Best4nest, offering designer furniture and home accessories. Although this business failed, he said it was a great learning experience.