Top 50 Emerging Leaders 2022 (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Rita Waite, venture capital investor, Semapa Next

Rita Waite is a venture capital investor at Semapa Next, the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of Portugal-based industrial conglomerate Semapa.

On why she entered the corporate venturing world, Waite said: “Frankly, the direct ability to make an impact on a company beyond the cap table. CVCs can be seen as contentious partners, but in my experience, they have a unique value add to early-stage companies.

“Corporates have readily available resources to bring to bear, such as technical expertise, go-to-market reach and a path to scale. In this way, we are able to act as a true, strategic partner, with the ability to make a dramatic impact on our investments beyond the capital.”

Semapa Next was formed in 2017 and targets series A to late-stage technology companies. In addition to funding, the unit provides strategic advice to its portfolio companies in areas including sales and marketing, human resources, finance and mergers and acquisitions.

The entrepreneurs will also have access to industry know-how through Semapa Group’s network and partners, with the possibility of conducting joint business development and technology piloting.

Waite joined Semapa Next in January 2021 having previously led payments business development and innovation team at Millennium BCP, one of the largest commercial banks in Portugal, for almost two years.

Before that, she worked at Juniper Ventures, US-based networking technology producer Juniper Networks’ CVC arm, where she focused on growth strategy and venture investments, for seven years and a half.

Waite joined Juniper Networks initially as a corporate strategy analyst in 2011, before moving to a senior analyst role in 2014. She was then appointed to the Juniper Ventures unit as an investment manager the following year.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.