Top 50 Emerging Leaders 2022 (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Sameer Kenkare, head of corporate venture capital and corporate innovation, and managing principal, startup business development, Amazon Web Services

Sameer Kenkare leads the corporate venture capital (CVC) and corporate innovation business development group as a part of the startup organisation at Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing division of US-headquartered e-commerce group Amazon.

The startups group at AWS is a group of more than 1000 former entrepreneurs, operators and investors that help hundreds of thousands startups solve technical challenges, hire the right engineers, finalize their fundraising round, scale their business and help them succeed, from inception to intial public offering (IPO).

As a part of this role, Kenkare is responsible for developing and executing on a global strategy to put Amazon’s powers to work on behalf of VCs, corporate VCs and their portfolio startups. In addition to this role managing CVCs, Kenkare is building and scaling startup vertical segments across travel, hospitality, energy, power and utilities for Amazon.

Before joining Amazon, Kenkare co-founded and led the Fintech Innovation Group at American Express, where he was responsible for driving innovation for the global commercial payments division through strategic partnerships, digital integrations and investments in emerging technology startups, B2B networks and e-commerce marketplaces.

Prior to this, as an operating partner for Amex’s Corporate Incubator, Kenkare led growth efforts for the entire portfolio of startups and scale-ups across payments, distributed ledger, loyalty, prepaid card, gift cards, e-commerce, travel and lending.

Prior to American Express, Sameer spent time across a dorm room fund investing in early stage entrepreneurs at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), spent time across corporate finance, investment banking and asset management across global financial advisory firms JP Morgan, Lazard, Con Edison and was a former founder and operator for two startups.

Kenkare holds a master’s degree in finance and mathematics from MIT and an engineering degree in information technology from University of Mumbai.