Top 50 Emerging Leaders 2022 (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Brandon Yahn, partner and head of North American investments, Convivalité Ventures

Brandon Yahn, partner and head of North American investments for Convivalité Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of France-headquartered wine and spirits producer Pernod Ricard, has been with the unit since it was found in 2017.

He invests across multiple stages in companies related to the way people socialise, entertain and recently branched out into more consumer products and business-to-business companies that can complement its own brands.

On what attracted him to CVC, Yahn said: “I love working closely with founders and helping them grow their business. I also enjoy learning new things, so the ability to invest across different areas has been great.

“The unique part of being in a CVC is that, in addition to financial returns, we exist to provide strategic value to both our startup companies and to our core business.”

Prior to joining Convivalité Ventures, he founded and was chief executive of Student Loans Guy between 2016 and 2018, providing personalised repayment tools to help people manage their student loans, as well as several business development executive roles.

Regarding what CVCs can do to improve the industry, he said: “CVCs need to have the empathy to understand the ups and downs that founders go through on a regular basis. In order to get into the best and most competitive deals, CVCs need to move quickly and be able make fast, but informed decisions.

“It is important for CVCs to structure their teams with the right incentives to make great investments. It is also important to be value-add to both the entrepreneurs and the corporate entity. You need to build strong connections within the core business to do this.”

Fernando Moncada Rivera

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