Cutler Knupp, managing director of Dysruptek is one of our top 50 Emerging Leaders in corporate venturing in 2024.

Cutler Knupp, like many other venture capitalists, went through traditional financial routes before joining the corporate venturing industry. “I was always drawn to venture even though most of my early career was spent in the corporate development space,” he says.

He worked in corporate development for IT company Cognizant Softvision, where he focused on M&A in the IT services and software businesses. He later joined Haskell, a US-based architectural engineering company, during the launch of its corporate venture unit, Dysruptek, where he is managing director, as well as being strategy and technology investment head for The Haskell Company.

“I was always drawn to venture even though most of my early career was spent in the corporate development space.”

The fund invests off its parent’s balance sheet in seed to series A startups in architecture, engineering and construction technologies. Dysruptek has 10 active companies in its portfolio.

“Looking at the breadth of emerging technologies is a huge highlight and seeing the impact this has been able to have in driving the business is great to see. When it comes to digital transformation, it has been rewarding seeing and realising these opportunities.”

His biggest challenge has been introducing and establishing a CVC function into an organisation. “From the early days, establishing the credibility that you and your team have among the rest of the organisation was a unique challenge. But as we have matured, the amount of activity that a small team like ours must manage has been a slight hurdle. Juggling the number of opportunities with a small and nimble team and maintaining that balance was a learning curve.”

Knupp advises new corporate venture unit teams to manage themselves well. “Prepare yourself for the unique challenges that corporate venturing is known for. You and your team must be savvy, very efficient, wear multiple hats and be very good communicators with regards to what you are working on and the value of the unit for the organisation.”

See the full list of GCV Emerging Leaders for 2024 here.