26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Brad McManus, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital

Rajan Naik, senior vice-president of strategy and innovation at Motorola Solutions, said: “Motorola Solutions Venture Capital (MSVC) has been investing in and partnering with startups for 20 years, helping drive technology leadership, innovation and business growth for Motorola Solutions. Brad joined our venture organisation four years ago as the company was beginning to expand its offerings in services, software and video.”

“Leveraging his extensive venture capital experience and network in the VC industry both in the US and Israel, Brad has reshaped MSVC’s portfolio to align with Motorola Solutions’ growth platforms and has created unique business models for go-to-market and technology licensing that enable venture stage companies to be successful with enterprises.”

When chosen as GCV’s Rising Star in 2017, Brad McManus was an investment director at MSVC, the corporate venturing unit of the eponymous public safety and commercial communications and intelligence service provider, a post he held from May 2015 until mid-2017, when he was promoted to managing director.

McManus said: “MSVC is responsible for accelerating sustainable bottom-line growth for Motorola Solutions through investments in new technologies, new businesses and new talent.

“MSVC is a small, high-impact team with offices located in Chicago, Illinois; Silicon Valley, California and Tel Aviv, Israel. The team is responsible for making investments in high-tech startups that are relevant to our businesses.

“The unit currently manages a portfolio of about 20 companies with new companies added to the portfolio periodically. The department is also responsible for monetising these investments and meeting annual strategic and financial goals set by the corporation.

“MSVC also manages Motorola Solutions’ partnership in the Labs/02 incubator based in Jerusalem, which sources and incubates seed-stage startups based in Israel.”

In 2018, McManus achieved several milestones for MSVC. For example, he helped redefine the unit’s strategic rationale for investments, which includes six categories for both business and visionary and technology-based objectives.

In addition, he enhanced MSVC’s investment proposal and review process which now focuses on “strategic thesis analysis and pitch-based on six objectives”. He was also involved in streamlining the investment committee, from six members down to three – chief strategy officer (CSO), chief technology officer (CTO) and chief financial officer’s delegate.

Under his leadership, the unit’s executive sponsor and business unit champion framework was also refined to align with key business units and CTO sponsors. The organisation moved under CSO from CTO to align resources and value of ventures more closely to strategic imperatives, he added.

There are also challenges associated with being a CVC unit leader, however. For example, McManus mentioned “driving forward-thinking innovation while simultaneously impacting the bottom line through strategic alliances with portfolio companies” as one. “Short-term business growth objectives are important, but ventures must also drive thought-leadership and advance internal innovation through strategic investments.”

Moreover, he said: “Incubator strategic outcomes are challenging when structure also must incorporate objectives of external partners. MSI joined a financial VC, a foreign corporation and the local government in an incubator program, which has made strategically relevant outcomes more challenging. MSVC is working on resolving this issue currently.”

Last year, MSVC participated in three new direct investments, such as a $25m series B round for US-based advanced computer processor developer Syntiant and a $5.5m seed round for US-based augmented reality technology developer Edgybees, as well as four incubator investments. In February 2019, MSVC participated in $6.5m series A round in C2A Security, Israel-based in-vehicle chip-level security platform provider, through Lab/02.

Most recently, three of the unit’s portfolio companies had successful exits:

  • Israel-based video analytics technology provider BriefCam was acquired by Japan-based imaging technology producer Canon in May 2018.
  • US-based geospatial software developer Boundless Spatial is to be acquired by US-based space and analytics company Planet, announced in December 2018.
  • US-based app development platform GoCanvas received $150m in funding from US-based investment firm K1 Investment Management in February 2019, making the latter the former’s majority stakeholder.

Before joining MSVC, McManus co-founded venture capital firm Capbridge Ventures in 2013 and had been a managing partner until 2015. During that time, he managed strategic venture funds for corporations in targeted adjacent verticals.

Before that, McManus was a managing director at Panasonic Venture Group, the corporate venturing unit of the eponymous Japan-based consumer electronics company, from 2002 to 2013.