Marc Umber, head of investment team, EnBW New Ventures, is one of our emerging leaders in corporate venturing in 2023.

When Marc Umber is not scouting for strong entrepreneurs or sitting on startup boards, he teaches courses on corporate finance and VC/PE to students in the MSc program at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

Umber started in academia before becoming a corporate investor, with many published papers on M&A, leverage buyouts and corporate finance. He was also a founder, designing and implementing IT infrastructures for small and medium-sized enterprises. He made the leap to investing in 2016 when he joined High-Tech Gründerfonds, a German private-public seed fund for high-tech startups.

Umber joined EnBW New Ventures, the venture capital arm of EnBW AG, one of the largest utility companies in Germany, in 2019 and became head of the investment team at the start of this year.

The venture unit, founded in 2015, is an evergreen fund with an initial volume of €100m. It invests mainly in series A rounds.

“For founders, a good corporate venture capital investor brings the best of both worlds.”

Umber led the unit’s entry into the augmented reality market, with an investment in Holo-Light, an Austrian company creating AR and VR technology for industrial uses. He closed the €7.5m funding round for enspired, an energy trading platform. He also led investment in Easelink, an Austrian startup that is developing an automated EV charging system.

Umber says tapping corporate knowledge at EnBW has given him an edge as an investor. “For founders, a good corporate venture capital investor brings the best of both worlds. We are a professional VC firm, and we have a reliable network that comes not only from us, but especially from our colleagues at EnBW. This taps real expertise and generates verifiable insights,” he says.

His real-world investment experience has also made him a better teacher, he says. “Being an investor allows me to share real-life examples and illustrate real problems. This not only adds a lot of credibility to my class, but it also makes teaching much more fun for me and for my students,” he says.

See the full list of Emerging Leaders 2023 here.

Maija Palmer

Maija Palmer is editor of Global Venturing and puts together the weekly email newsletter (sign up here for free).