26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Nadeem Khan, Aflac Corporate Ventures

Nadeem Khan, who has been working at US-based insurance provider Aflac for 15 years and was senior vice-president of corporate development until January 2017, was made president of Aflac Corporate Ventures, the insurer’s nascent corporate venturing subsidiary.

Paul Amos, Aflac’s president of global operations, said at the time of the unit’s launch: “With a greater focus on the customer experience, we feel that it is vital that Aflac prioritises potential partners that will help us enhance services and shareholder value while building our future growth engine.

“By investing in companies that we see as vital to our core business, we will be positioned to innovate as these early-stage companies continue to mature.”

Aflac Corporate Ventures targets investments in startups that develop software strategically significant to its core business to improve the insurance value chain.

Aflac set the investment timeframe at three years at the time of the launch, but it was extended to three to four years when the fund size was increased from $100m to $250m in September 2018.

Khan said at the time of fund increase: “Our focus continues to be on growth-stage, innovative and scalable companies. As we increase the fund size, we are diversifying into later-stage deals and fund-of-fund opportunities.

“This supports our overall strategy to invest in companies with missions relevant to Aflac’s core business and restates our commitment in this space. This also provides greater market reach and drives dealflow by building partnerships with the startup ecosystem and other corporate and strategic investment groups.”

Bharat Rajaram, who has been at Aflac for almost a decade and featured on GCV’s Rising Stars rosters in 2018 and 2019, was promoted from director of mergers and acquisitions at Aflac to managing director at the unit in March 2017.

For this year’s award, Khan said in his nomination of Rajaram: “Bharat continues to do an outstanding job leading the ventures team at Aflac. He has partnered accelerators and strategic investors in building a platform that makes Aflac Ventures highly visible and accessible to startups around the world. His vast knowledge and understanding of insurance allow him to serve as a valuable mentor and adviser to our portfolio companies.”

Only a handful of investments have been made public to date. In September 2018, the unit said it had supplied funds between $1m and $6m for equity stakes of between 3% and 14% for eight companies in the US and Japan.

In January this year, Aflac Corporate Ventures took part in a $58m series D round for US-based insurance price comparison service CoverHound, a $33.5m series C round for US-based employee benefits software provider Limelight Health and a $20m round for Singapore-based digital life insurance startup Singapore Life.

Last year, the unit participated in a $2.3m seed round for US-based process automation software developer Reply.ai in September, and seven months earlier, a $4m series B round for US-based consumer assistance program application developer Picwell and a $4.2m seed round for US-based legal will, trust and life insurance-focused mobile app developer Tomorrow Ideas.