The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order by company): Brian Schettler, Boeing HorizonX Ventures

Launched in April last year as US-based aerospace firm Boeing’s corporate venture capital (CVC) unit, HorizonX was set up to invest in innovative aerospace technologies, business models and manufacturing processes.

But, perhaps as befits a company used to building things to a high specification and able to fly quickly, Michael Lohnert, investing director at Boeing HorizonX Ventures and GCV Rising Star 2018, said: “The reputation we are getting in the aerospace industry is that we are moving fast, while being thoughtful about our investment strategy and respectful of the entrepreneurs.”

With the CVC fund headed by managing director Brian Schettler, who reports to HorizonX vice-president Steve Nordlund, formerly vice-president of strategy for Boeing Defense, Space and Security, the unit has screened 2,000 companies to date, and closed seven investments by the end of 2017 with evaluating another 40 to 50 potential deals in their near-term pipeline.

The unit’s first two investments were in hybrid electric aircraft producer Zunum Aero and augmented reality technology developer Upskill were announced pretty much simultaneously with the fund’s launch, and were quickly followed by cognitive security analytics specialist group SparkCognition and C360 Technology, which manufactures 360-degree video camera systems.

In late 2017, HorizonX was also the lead investor in the first funding round of Pittsburgh, US-based startup Near Earth Autonomy, which develops autonomous flight technology, and in the seed round of aluminium alloys maker Gamma Alloys. This year’s deals include UK-based propulsion system developer Reaction Engines, which raised $37.3m from engine and car producer Rolls-Royce and aerospace companies Boeing and BAE Systems.

Schettler has more than 17 years of experience in aerospace, technology, and defence companies in areas of corporate and business strategy, mergers and acquisitions, business development, and product portfolio management. Most recently at Boeing, he was senior strategist for Boeing Military Aircraft, where he led mergers and acquisitions, business strategy, and partnership development in Silicon Valley and beyond. He also served as a strategist for Phantom Works, where he partnered with Boeing Research & Technology to build development strategies for new technologies and products while also building product and market strategies for new platforms and concepts.

Outside Boeing, Schettler has experience leading global companies in strategy and development. He spent three years as vice president of corporate strategy at Cobham, a UK-based technology company, where he led corporate and business strategy development, including the evaluation and prioritization of private venture investment across its diversified product lines. He spent another two years at ATK and was responsible for corporate strategy and portfolio development. Finally, Schettler led strategy and program operations for the Space Systems Division of Northrop Grumman, managing their technology portfolio and investments.

Schettler holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Northwestern University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Maryland. He has completed executive education courses at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and has certifications from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.