Top 50 Emerging Leaders 2021 continued (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Baris Guzel, principal, BMW i Ventures

Baris Guzel serves as a principal at BMW i Ventures, the €500m ($600m) venture capital vehicle for Germany-headquartered carmaker Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW). The fund partners and invests in developers of autonomous driving, digital car, e-mobility, artificial intelligence, shared and on-demand mobility and energy services technologies in all stages from seed and incubation to growth companies.

Nicholas Sauvage, managing director of TDK Ventures, the corporate venture capital (CVC) fund of Japan-listed electronics manufacturer TDK, said of Guzel: “I have been so impressed with how purposeful and smart Baris is for all his investments while nurturing high-intimacy relationship with both founders and other investors partners. I believe he will be a great head of CVC or a GP (general partner) at a financial VC in the coming years.”

Guzel joined BMW i Ventures in March 2017 after six months as a venture capital associate at VC firm Presidio Partners. He had previously spent a year working as a technology investment banking associate at financial services firm Deutsche Bank, having earned a master of engineering management from Duke University.

During his time at BMW i Ventures, Guzel has taken board observer seats at security technology developer Vera Security, manufacturing services provider Xometry and Mapillary, the street imaging provider that was acquired by social media group Facebook.

Guzel has also taken part in the fund’s investment in automotive financing platform AutoFi, cybersecurity software developer Claroty, electric vehicle charging station operator Chargepoint, virtual training software provider Strivr, car dealership-focused sales software provider Tekion, child transportation service provider Zūm and Life360, a family communication software producer which went public on the Australian Securities Exchange.

In addition, Guzel holds an MBA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School, where he led VCIC (Venture Capital Investment Competition).

Edison Fu

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