Melanie Beyersdorf, investment manager at EnBW New Ventures, is one of our Top 50 Rising Stars in corporate venturing for 2024.

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Melanie Beyersdorf has been at German energy utility EnBW’s investment arm, EnBW New Ventures, for under 18 months but she has extensive experience in the renewable energy world having spent years advising on project financing for Allianz. 

The turning point for Beyersdorf came when she realised she was trying to build up clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa from Germany, instead of being on the ground. That seed began to really grow when EnBW asked her to transfer those energy financing skills to venture investing. 

“It’s this mixture between my past, having a corporate background, and the future connected to innovation and startups,” she says. “I think it’s really exciting bringing the best of both worlds to drive the energy transition.” 

Something else Beyersdorf brings to her position is an experience in sales earlier on in her career, selling ‘products nobody wanted’ before moving into business development. That combination helps her assess startups along with their potential pain points. 

Beyersdorf focuses on the energy and mobility transition for EnBW New Ventures and helped spearhead her first deal last year, when the unit co-led a seed round for German battery analytics startup Volytica Diagnostics. She says gaining in-depth knowledge about a range of technologies is what most drives her work in corporate VC. 

“I kicked off with battery storage and analytics, which ended up in our investment in Volytica,” she explains. “But also dealing with everything around carbon management: carbon reduction measures or carbon removal in European forests, for example. I didn’t know a thing about European forests and the buck beetle a year ago, and now I know. 

“And I hope in five years I can look back and talk about battery storage and European forests and carbon reduction measures and all that exciting stuff. It isn’t about developing myself into further roles but exploring other topics.”