The top 10: #9 Steven Willinger, principal, Capital One Ventures

Steven Willinger is a principal at Capital One Ventures, a corporate venture capital subsidiary of financial services firm Capital One. He said: “Being relatively new to financial services, I get really excited to work with ambitious entrepreneurs who want to challenge the status quo.”

Willinger has made strategic investments in financial technology, enterprise and cybersecurity at Capital One Ventures. Through his investments and strategic partnerships, he aims to add value for Capital One and entrepreneurs.

Jay Emmanuel, a partner at Capital One Ventures, added: “Steven has played a significant role with cybersecurity-related investments at Capital One. He has created deep partnerships with key stakeholders both inside Capital One and in the external startup ecosystem.

“Steven is passionate about technology and spends a great deal of time researching topics of interest from both a technology and market perspective to form well-informed investment decisions. He has used the experience with partnership development he gained while at Google to help create many mutually beneficial startups relationships for Capital One.”

In November 2020, Capital One Ventures participated in a $12.6m round for customer documentation software developer Lightico. The round was led by venture capital firm Oxx and included Harmony Partners, Lool Ventures, Crescendo Venture Partners, Mangrove Capital Partners and Spinach Angels.

Willinger said at the time: “The meat and potatoes of fintech innovation comes from the digitisation of processes and workflows. While these workflows have generally been by designed an awkward mix of regulators, risk officers and compliance teams; that does not mean they cannot be mobile-first and joyful.

“Lightico does just that – they help Capital One build low or no-code customer facing servicing workflows that make customers smile, but more importantly, convert.”

Earlier in the same month, the unit also took part in a $16m series B round for email creation software product developer Stensul. VC firm USVP led the round, which also featured Peak State Ventures, Javelin Venture Partners, Uncork Capital, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital and multiple private investors.

Willinger said: “Stensul is a high-impact and thoughtful piece of software that enables big enterprises to rapidly create compelling and compliant marketing emails, and do so without slow or expensive technical resources. Their impact on velocity at Capital One has been huge.” It also took part in a $125m series D round for Eightfold, the creator of a smart digital recruitment platform.

Prior to corporate venturing, Willinger held operational roles including seven years at internet technology company Google in product and partnership functions, helping early-stage consumer and enterprise companies leverage Google’s products such as Google Maps, Google Cloud Platform and Google X.