Ankesh Madan, senior associate of Hitachi Ventures, is one of our 50 emerging leaders in corporate venturing in 2023.
Ankesh Madan knows all about the challenges of operating a startup having co-founded a date rape drug detection company in college. That experience gave him insights into how best to help portfolio companies grow.
After leaving the startup, Madan worked at institutional venture capital firms Propel(x) and Plug and Play Tech Center before joining Hitachi Ventures, the investment fund of the Japanese conglomerate, in 2020.
He says CVCs are uniquely positioned to advise startups on how to fine tune their pitch or how to communicate their vision clearly. ”Being able to make sure that everyone has full knowledge of the options that are available to them is where CVCs are best positioned, because we have a full view of everything. We can see everything on the corporate side and everything on the startup side,” says Madan.
A challenge of working in CVC that Madan enjoys is communicating to the corporate parent a vision of what the future may look like in deep tech where markets for products don’t exist yet. “Large corporates tend to be focused on surviving and thriving in the short term. It can be a challenge communicating that long-term vision but also exciting.”
He says the CVC sector would benefit from more standardised fund structures, which would help founders better understand which CVCs they are best suited to partnering with.
“Where founders tend to struggle is they don’t know how each CVC is different and which ones are a good fit versus not a good fit. Understanding those differences can be really challenging, so having transparency in the market plays a big part.”
Madan will focus this year on climate technologies such as carbon dioxide removal, hydrogen and fusion, as well as synthetic biology. “We are getting to a point where the better companies or better teams are starting to emerge in those sectors,” he says.
See the rest of our Top Emerging Leaders for 2023 here.