26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Heriberto Diarte, Schneider Electric

Heriberto Diarte has been heading corporate ventures and external innovation at France-based energy management and automation technology producer Schneider Electric since November 2017. He oversees open innovation for the company, including its incubation programs to launch new companies, and investing in startups and later-stage growth companies.

Schneider Electric launched a dedicated corporate venturing unit called Schneider Electric Ventures in November 2018 that invests between €300m and €500m ($340m to $565m) in startups.

Ahead of its launch, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, chairman and chief executive, said at the Innovation Summit North America: “Schneider Electric Ventures is our way of helping innovators turn their vision into reality and make a real difference to the way we live and work.

“Schneider Electric Ventures demonstrates our commitment to innovation, helping innovators and entrepreneurs who share our values develop their ideas and gain access to global markets.”

Tricoire emphasised in a keynote address that the fund, together with the annual €1bn research and development spending, would allow the firm to be involved in the shift from fossil fuel-based energy consumption to a cleaner electrified paradigm. Schneider Electric has pledged to have a net zero carbon footprint by 2030.

Diarte added at the time: “The investments we have made and the companies we have incubated so far are central to Schneider Electric’s vision for the future. These innovative technologies and services we are investing in will make a huge contribution to creating a world that is more connected, greener, efficient and sustainable.”

The unit focuses on energy efficiency and sustainability, in areas such as energy use and industrial management, and will deploy the capital for direct investments in startups, dedicated strategic funds, incubation initiatives and partnerships with entrepreneurs.

Upon its launch, the unit invested in real estate modelling technology developer Habiteo, building management platform KGS Buildings, energy management device producer Sense, industrial data system developer Element Analytics, industrial security software provider Claroty and electric vehicle charger installer Qmerit.

In addition to its external deals, Schneider Electric Ventures has incubated solar technology installer Clipsal Solar and electric vehicle fleet services provider EIQ Mobility. Regarding the latter, Diarte said: “EIQ Mobility is an exciting investment. We deeply support their data analytics approach and infrastructure-as-a-service strategy.

“In the US alone, fleet vehicles drive 296 billion miles (476 billion km) a year, and their annual cost is more than $200bn. With more than 50,000 fleets in the US, we see a huge growth opportunity for EIQ Mobility, and significant cost reduction and sustainability opportunities for their corporate clients. We have committed to leveraging EIQ products with our more than 4,500 service technician and sales vehicles in the US to introduce more EVs into our US fleet.”

Schneider Electric also partnered hardware incubator Greentown Labs to establish the Greentown Labs Bold Ideas Challenge program which acts as a liaison between entrepreneurs and mentors as well as business and technical resources.

The unit’s namesake is its predecessor which was set up in 2000 with a €50m corpus and also conducted venture capital deals, until Schneider Electric formed Aster, a venture partnership with power and automation group Alstom, in 2010 and the former unit was absorbed.

Diarte holds a bachelor of science in economics from Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, a master of public administration in business and government partnerships from Harvard University and an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.