26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Eilat Cohen Basat, Kimberly-Clark Corporation

After many years in the technology sector, Eilat Cohen Basat joined US-based consumer packaged goods (CPG) company Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KCC) in May 2014 to establish and lead its Global Digital Innovation Lab, an open innovation platform similar in concept to the ones she established, launched and led before.

Cohen Basat said for her Rising Stars award last year: “I focus on deals and projects in advanced technologies such as internet of things, artificial intelligence, sensors, nanotech, deep learning, predictive analytics and blockchain.

“As the CPG world is undergoing major disruptions, any new investments, acquisitions and collaborations that will help the CPGs face the growing uncertainties are highly valuable.”

Cohen Basat is also keen on mentoring and guiding startups in their initiatives in the business-to-consumer and business-to-business world, not only from the funding aspect but through building a viable value proposition and a strategic growth path into the market.

She added: “I can say that in multiple markets we have launched products and services that will not be directly associated with a CPG-like company and that we have evaluated some interesting capabilities for M&A in non-traditional spaces. More and more parts of the organisation are taking part in these activities.”

Before KCC, she had established and led a full-scale startup collaboration program for Amdocs, a tier one supplier in the telecoms sector, covering mergers and acquisitions, investments and collaborations.

“In this tenure [to September 2012], I have worked with C-level leaders from many service providers, for example, AT&T, Sprint, SingTel Group, Vodafone, NTT Docomo and others, to structure their open innovation strategies and frameworks.

“I was honoured to be part of AT&T’s Rethink Possible and SingTel Group’s Digital Life strategic initiatives and set for each an innovation centre in Israel covering all engagement types– collaborations, investments and acquisitions.”

Cohen Basat also has ample experience establishing new lines of business for large enterprises as well as starting new startup ventures.

She noted: “I truly believe large corporates can only benefit from relationships with young companies that bring in unique expertise, new and agile ways to crack challenges, and fearless attitude towards trial and error.

“In a CVC or alternate forms of collaboration, a startup can get more than pure financial backing but also industry knowledge, an understanding how to build a sustainable business and a valuable partnership when entering new markets. Through this collaboration of two different entities, great things can happen to both sides.”

However, said there were challenges. “In a big corporate, every day is a challenge when you are bringing in a future agenda. Corporates tend to heavily question any not-invented-here capabilities and ways of thinking. Finding a common language between the entrepreneurial world and the corporate world – as far as jargon, processes and time to execute is also a big challenge.”

Fortunately, as a keen explorer, uncovering and understanding people’s motivations, habits and cultures has been part of Cohen Basat’s interests and skills.

And Cohen Basat is keen to do more, saying: “I would be happy to set a CVC for a corporate that sees the opportunity in it and help it grow into viable strategic directions.

“CVCs have an inherent dilemma – between being a financial investor and a strategic arm for the corporate. Sometimes these do not go hand in hand. If a CVC could actually be fulfilling to the promise of being smart money for the entrepreneurs, without binding them and allowing them to grow then all parties will gain and CVC will be a better fundraising partner and it will grow the CVC industry.”