Joanna Soroka, principal, Hitachi Ventures, is one of our top 50 Emerging Leaders in corporate venturing in 2024.

Joanna Soroka, Hitachi Ventures

To make an immediate impact is what motivated Joanna Soroka to join as principal at Hitachi Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of the Japanese conglomerate Hitachi.

Responsible for overseeing healthcare investments, Soroka combines her technical expertise in genetics and oncology from her PhD and postdoc in biotechnology, with her business acumen in strategy and innovation, through her previous roles at PwC and Konica Minolta.

“I am excited about the intersection and convergence of tech and bio. We are witnessing the onset of a new area of medicine, which is powered by accelerated computing, generative artificial intelligence and new business models that will lead to truly personalised care,” she says. She also highlights the importance of data. “The advancement of these technologies is impossible without high quality, multi-modal and longitudinal data sets, and the industry is starting to understand their value,” she says.

“It is vital to be a strong value-add investor to startups, while at the same time be a strategic sparring partner to the corporate.”

Soroka says the fulfilling parts of her role are working with ambitious founders and being able to “see today the inception of technologies and business models that create markets of the future”. One of the biggest challenges of working in CVC, she says, is the strong execution skills required to translate the vision of founders who solve complex problems into a business reality, often in markets that do not exist yet.

Soroka adds it is important to see the bigger picture and look at venturing from an ecosystem, rather than a standalone company perspective. She says it is vital to “be a strong value-add investor to startups, while at the same time be a strategic sparring partner to the corporate”.

For those looking to enter corporate venturing, Soroka advises being passionate and curious and emphasises the importance of having a knack for synthesising scattered information, coupled with a mindset of “building and scaling to support companies’ growth from startup to viability”.

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