Top 50 Emerging Leaders 2021 continued (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Brian Walsh, head, Wind Ventures

Brian Walsh leads Wind Ventures, the US-based corporate venture capital subsidiary of Chile-listed petroleum supplier Compañía de Petróleos de Chile (Copec).

Formed in late 2019, Wind Ventures is targeting global energy, mobility and retail technology developers, and will facilitate their entry into the Latin America market. It invests roughly $1m to $10m per deal across series A to C rounds, as well as pursuing follow-on funding opportunities.

The unit most recently backed Latin America-focused e-commerce platform Chiper in October 2020, in a $12m series A round. The fund also provided $30m for energy storage technology producer Stem, and $2.5m each for Spain-focused energy storage system operator Ampere Energy and Cargo, a ride-hailing platform that also offers an in-car retail service.

Copec had additionally formed joint venture arrangements with Stem and Ampere, helping them access the Chilean and broader Latin American markets.

Prior to joining Wind Ventures, Walsh had specialised in corporate venturing at IT product producer Konica Minolta and consulting firm McKinsey & Company. His team features Sean Simpson, a former investment manager at carmaker General Motors’ GM Ventures unit, and Bob Ma, an alumnus of venture capital firm Soma Capital.

Regarding his team and the vehicle’s outlook, Walsh said at the time of the unit’s launch: “With the addition of Sean Simpson and Bob Ma, Wind Ventures is bringing a distinct offering to the Silicon Valley and global innovation ecosystems as a professional venture capital team with strong connective tissue back to Latin America.”

Leonardo Ljubetic, Copec’s chief corporate development and strategy officer, added: “Wind Ventures is the concrete manifestation of our vision, in which major global trends converge, such as digitalisation, along with the decentralisation and decarbonisation of the energy matrix.

“Brian, Sean and Bob will certainly help achieve our goal which is no other than bringing Chile and the region towards a new era of sustainability.”

Edison Fu

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