26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Suzanna Chiu, Amadeus Ventures

After shining as a GCV Rising Star for three consecutive years from 2016 to 2018, Suzanna Chiu, head of ventures at Amadeus Ventures, corporate venture capital unit of Spain-based travel software and technology services provider Amadeus IT Group, was included in last year’s Powerlist for her leadership and this year is no different.

Wolfgang Krips, senior vice-president of corporate strategy, said: “Over the last five years, Amadeus Ventures has interacted with thousands of entrepreneurs in the travel technology space and invested in more than 10 high-potential startups highly relevant for our customers. The team constantly shares observations and brings startup collaboration ideas to the rest of the organisation.

“All our business units now have incorporated startup as part of their activities, as solution partners, and as an emerging customer segment. Amadeus Ventures has become known as one of the top strategic investors in the space of travel and transportation technology. I congratulate Suzanna to be on the GCV Powerlist once again this year and look forward to an exciting 2019.”

Based in Madrid, where the firm is headquartered, Chiu started off as senior manager of strategic planning in 2012, until she was appointed to head of ventures in 2014.

In 2018, Chiu brought new investment dimension into the program. She explained: “Rather than investing in subjects that complement the offers of our business units, we invested in Dawex – a data exchange platform based in France. The idea is to work together with Dawex to experiment data collaboration and monetisation with our industry and non-industry partners.”

Chiu also sought strong alignment between ventures and other startup programs within Amadeus in terms of communication and lead management. “Combining resources from both corporate and business across regions to bring full range value proposition from expertise, reach, technology to funding to startups working on travel technology.”

Strong support from business units on co-marketing and solution collaboration activities has also been vital. “Our portfolio startups presented in close to 10 customers events around the world last year, offering them access to high-quality customer leads and solid revenue opportunities. On solution collaboration, two startups’ solutions are integrated into Amadeus and are currently being piloted by our customers. We also have referral relations with three portfolio companies where we recommend their solutions directly to our customers.”

Chiu leads a team of talented investment professionals who continue to drive the ecosystem. Chiu nominated Covadonga Baselga, an investment manager from her team, to be GCV’s Rising Star this year. Amadeus Ventures also hired two new members – Marta Pinho and Cristina Moyano – both of whom have experience working with startups and increased the unit’s dealmaking capabilities.

Being a prolific thought-leader, Chiu participated as a speaker and jury member at various conferences including the Skift Forum Europe 2018, Phocuswright Europe 2018, South Summit 2018, among others.

Concerning plans for this year, Chiu said: “2019 is going to be an important year. After five years of operations, we are reviewing our objectives and approach based on feedback and learnings. We have proven ourselves to be successful in finding and identifying startups that can potentially disrupt the travel industry.

“The next step would be to amplify our impact to the organisation – on innovation and future growth. Our goal would be to evolve the program into a profit generator which identifies a portfolio of business opportunities that will fuel the future growth of the organisation. This would include broadening the objectives of investments and also the criteria of investments.

“We will dedicate 2019 in getting our internal stakeholders on board and at the same time, doing more transforming deals.”

Before joining Amadeus, she was a senior manager at Macquarie Capital Advisers, where she led several mergers and acquisitions transactions in the telecoms and media sectors, based between London and Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, she also served as lead consultant for business-to-business e-commerce services provider Sesami, and as a consultant for Accenture.

Chiu graduated from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she obtained a statistics-focused bachelor of science, and she completed a finance concentration MBA at the London Business School.