Gayathri Radhakrishnan, partner, Hitachi Ventures, is one of our emerging leaders in corporate venturing in 2023.
This is Gayathri Radhkarishnan’s second time on the GCV list, having also featured as a Rising Star in January 2021 when she was a director of Micron’s $100m AI Fund. Since then, she was promoted to senior director and also played a part in the launch of Micron’s $200m deep tech fund last year.
She recently moved from Micron Ventures, which she joined in 2019, to join the Hitachi Ventures team as a partner in the North America team.
When asked about her transition to the world of CVC, “I know what it’s like to be in an entrepreneur’s shoes,” she says. Gayathri Radhakrishnan was the vice president of product management at a startup before moving into corporate investing.
“And, having worked at Fortune 500 companies before, I understand the value of external innovation and also understand how to navigate the corporate world to help realise that value”, she says.
She has empathy for both the investor and the entrepreneur, she adds. There are cautionary tales on both sides. “Having been an investor in the past, and then having been with three different startups throughout my career, I can relate.
”When you’re a founder, sometimes you don’t know where the investor is coming from,” Radhakrishnan says. “You need to build that relationship of trust. So, clearly articulating the investors’ point of view and being candid about it allows the founder to understand the investor perspective,” she says.
When asked about her job, Radhakrishnan says she believes VCs are like gardeners. “Every plant will grow on its own — you can’t dictate how the plant grows. You can’t dictate the size of it. But you can provide the environment to protect the plant to ensure its success.
”Then, sometimes there are going to be things out of your control, for example, when it’s pouring like crazy right now [in January 2023 in California, at the time of the interview], some of these plants may not make it.
”But, my job is to do whatever I can do, like providing the nutrition and fertiliser and the protection that it needs, that’s how I think of the job as a VC – to be there, behind the scenes, supporting your founders, helping them achieve their dreams.”
See the full list of Emerging Leaders 2023 here.