Tim Wanders, executive director at ABN AMRO Ventures, is one of our top 50 Emerging Leaders in corporate venturing in 2023.

An entrepreneur at heart, Tim Wanders, executive director at ABN AMRO Ventures, has always liked building things from the ground up. His focus on early-stage investments across Europe – typically between late seed stage to early series B – is therefore apt.  

In an environment where capital is abundant, maximising the value ABN AMRO Ventures can bring beyond just money and bolstering the unit’s reputation as a reliable partner has been a priority for Wanders.  

“I think we’ve done that successfully, where we now don’t have any trouble getting into rounds and we have a good network of co-investors,” he said, adding that a successful CVC won’t sacrifice the financial element for a purely strategic outlook.  

As ABN AMRO Ventures has become more confident, it has set an increasingly high bar for its investments. 

“Always staying true to your word. That’s crucial for me as an investor.”

“What we’ve learned maybe is that you need to pursue deals with conviction. If you don’t have a 90% or 85% conviction you won’t get there, because if you go into the next phase, which is the due diligence, it’s never getting better,” said Wanders. 

If you’re a startup wanting to pitch him, you’ll need to be realistic in your assumptions and show that you know what you are doing. 

“I don’t expect the full platform to be there already, but just be realistic in the pitch. Sketch the bigger picture for the next 5-10 years – sell me the vision, and I will trickle it down to the here and now,” he said.  

Hard economic times are likely to bring out the best entrepreneurs and startups, who will need capital to make their mark, according to Wanders – boding well for long-term goals.  

As an investor, the value of being trustworthy and delivering on your commitments cannot be overstated. “Always staying true to your word. That’s crucial for me as an investor,” he said. 

“We hope to build the best fintech CVC unit in Europe. The biggest in terms of capital, the best reputation. That’s still crucial. That’s our goal.” 

See the rest of our Top 50 Emerging Leaders here.

Fernando Moncada Rivera

Fernando Moncada Rivera is a reporter at Global Corporate Venturing and also host of the CVC Unplugged podcast.