The rest of the 50 (in alphabetical order): Sameer Kenkare, venture capital and startup engagement – innovation and partnerships, Amazon Web Services
Sameer Kenkare oversees corporate venture capital (CVC) and business development activities for Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing division of e-commerce and cloud technology firm Amazon.
He seeks out disruptive innovation opportunities, negotiates and executes strategic commercial partnerships with emerging technology startup companies. His areas of interest include travel and hospitality, oil and gas, and power and utilities.
The strategic relationships in question include those formed with VC firms, accelerators and incubators through AWS Activate and Startup Migrate schemes, which help technologies companies to access AWS’s services and engage with Amazon’s ecosystem.
Most recently, AWS announced its plan to provide R365m ($24.7m) for black-owned businesses in South Africa through the government’s Black Economic Empowerment scheme, where AWS will admit startups to an 18-to-24-month incubator program, providing mentoring in areas including cloud computing, internet-of-things and machine learning.
At last year’s Global Corporate Venturing Innovation (GCVI) Summit, AWS vice-president of cloud architecture strategy Adrian Cockcroft said AWS welcomed risk to foster innovation, adding that Amazon had developed a culture that made continuous innovation possible.
Amazon focuses on customers and long-term thinking through trial and error. Cockcroft said AWS drew lessons from other innovators, such as video-streaming service Netflix and ride-hailing app developer Uber, in terms of market creation. He added that Amazon had 50 million deployments a year, thousands of teams, microservice architecture, continuous delivery and multiple environments.
Prior to joining Amazon, Kenkare worked at American Express Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of payment services firm American Express also known as Amex Ventures, first as a strategy manager then as a fintech innovation lead. He also invested on behalf of VC firm G51 Venture Capital in early-stage technology companies for a year. He held an India-based analyst role for four years from 2009 at financial services firm JP Morgan in the private banking group for four years.
Kenkare holds a master’s degree in finance and business from Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management and an engineering degree in information technology from University of Mumbai.