26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Herman Kienhuis, KPN Ventures

Since 2016, Herman Kienhuis has been an executive vice-president and managing director at KPN Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of Netherlands-based telecoms company KPN.

Jan Kees de Jager, KPN’s chief financial officer, said in his nomination of Kienhuis and praised KPN Ventures’ role in the organisation’s broader innovation strategy: “KPN initiated the KPN Ventures investment fund mid-2015 to boost outside-in-innovation, creating more opportunities to work closely together with new, innovative technology companies, while also creating financial return on investments.

“Herman has been instrumental in executing on this plan. After three years under the leadership of Herman, KPN Ventures has grown its portfolio to 13 relevant direct investments, with one great exit and five fund-of-funds investments.”

In total, KPN Ventures has had two successful exits worth $1.4bn.

The most recent of which took place in November last year, where Netherlands-based network security software developer SecurityMatters was acquired by US-based internet-of-things (IoT) security technology provider ForeScout Technologies for $113m.

Furthermore, US-based networking equipment provider Cisco purchased cloud-based IoT platform developer Jasper Technologies – an investment by KPN before KPN Ventures’ launch later incorporated into the fund in 2015 – for $1.3bn in March 2016.

De Jager added: “KPN Ventures is actively supporting the portfolio companies in their growth and in creating cooperation with KPN and its ecosystem partners, as an increasingly important instrument in KPN’s transformation, alongside R&D, new business and M&A.”

Thanks to Kienhuis’s expertise and experience in strategy and finance acquired at management consultancy McKinsey, digital media product and business development from Finland-based digital services provider SanomaDigital which belongs to media and learning company Sanoma, and corporate venture capital from SanomaVentures, Sanoma’s corporate venturing arm, he was hired by KPN in January 2016 to start and run the newly created €70m investment fund KPN Ventures.

In late 2015, Kienhuis founded angel syndicate River Venture Partners and has been an angel investor in several seed-stage startups. He is also an adviser at Founders-plus, a Netherlands-based nonprofit initiative organising networking events to connect tech founders to exchange experiences, and an adviser at Singapore-based startup generator and early-stage VC firm Antler, a board member at Netherlands-based social enterprise Questionmark Foundation.

In addition, Kienhuis gives guest lectures on corporate venture capital and entrepreneurial finance at University of Amsterdam’s Amsterdam Business School and the Jheronimus Academy of Data Science. He has been a mentor at StartupBootcamp Accelerator, an adviser to the Innovation Fund of the Dutch Railways and an adviser to the Dutch Journalism Innovation Fund.

Last year, KPN came in second place in the Corporate Startup Star Award by the European Commission’s Startup Europe Partnership, for its active startup engagement and investments, which Kienhuis received jointly with his colleagues at KPN’s New Business startup liaison office. In 2017, KPN was awarded top 12 Corporate Startup Star Award and top three Corporate Startup Investment Award by the European Commission’s Startup Europe Partnership, for its startup investment activity at KPN Ventures.

KPN Ventures hired Sarah Schleeper in January 2018 as an investment associate, expanding the KPN Ventures team to five members. Internship positions were also offered to three master’s students.

KPN engages actively with KPN Ventures’ portfolio companies:

  • KPN IoT launched the world’s first nationwide LPWAN (LORA) IoT network based on the technology of France-based IoT company Actility.
  • KPN launched sensor and alert system KPN Vitaal for elderly care based on the technology of Netherlands-based monitoring technology creator Sensara.
  • KPN Security Services is a commercial distribution partner of SecurityMatters, bringing its industrial cybersecurity solution to Dutch industrial clients, and they also have worked together in developing a smart building security solution, with a subsidy from the EU.
  • KPN IoT is a commercial distribution partner of Belgium-based automated tool management services provider Viloc, bringing its asset tracking device to its business clients in the construction industry under the product name Bouwtag.
  • KPN’s security team is a strategic customer of Netherlands-based cybersecurity intelligence platform EclecticIQ, purchasing and using its threat intelligence platform to support the work of KPN’s security analysts, who are also providing feedback on functionality and development roadmap.
  • KPN is a pilot customer of Netherlands-based cybersecurity intelligence platform Cloudify, integrating its cloud orchestration platform to support its cloud services offering to Dutch business customers.
  • KPN Health developed a new remote heart monitoring service, integrating the technology of Germany-based cardiac health technology developer Personal MedSystems to build a smartphone-based, personal electrocardiogram device called CardioSecur.