26 – 100 in alphabetical order: Stefan Gabriel, CEO, Hitachi Ventures
Stefan Gabriel, who had been president of manufactured goods conglomerate 3M’s corporate venture capital (CVC) subsidiary, 3M New Ventures (now 3M Ventures), joined Japan-headquartered electronics manufacturer Hitachi in April 2019 to manage its newly formed $150m investment fund as chief executive.
The CVC fund is called Hitachi Ventures (HVG) and targets startups globally, especially those based in Europe and the US, that are developing disruptive technologies that can integrate with Hitachi’s products.
HVG scouts for startups that will support Hitachi in realizing a sustainable society and improving people’s quality of life as well as increasing customers social, environmental and economic values.
Toshiaki Higashihara, president and CEO of Hitachi, said at the time of the unit’s formation: “Hitachi Ventures Fund invests in highly innovative and early-stage startups with rapid growth potential. The purpose is to capture the occurring innovations and to support acceleration of the movements.
“Hitachi will deepen collaborations with invested startups to create new markets and to achieve mutual growth. I believe CVC activities will enable Hitachi to speedily develop new business models, innovative products and to deliver value to society.”
Gabriel added: “As the CVC market develops very actively and is growing globally, Hitachi takes that exciting opportunity to start a significant global corporate venture activity. These strategic early-stage investments will concentrate on selected innovative business concepts with high commercialisation potential for the entire Hitachi and enables it to create new innovative products and services.
“Synergies and learning are expected through technological and business collaboration while foot-printing in adjacent growth markets. For these startups, Hitachi will be a reliable investor and business partner. For the Hitachi business, we will scout for startups with entrepreneurial talent to support getting prepared to reinvent the future.”
While at 3M, Gabriel drove the company’s ongoing efforts to identify, acquire and develop new-to-3M technologies and businesses using venture style funding and management. He reported to 3M’s CEO and chief technology officer and was a member of the CVC board, executive conference, corporate technology operations committee and the innovation board.
Between 2008 and 2015, he built the 3M Ventures unit with six global offices to execute minority venture investments from early and later stage with focus areas of 3M’s business units: industrial and automotive, electric and electronics, healthcare, safety and security, and consumer.
Previously, Gabriel had worked for over two decades for automotive manufacturer BMW in Germany and the UK where he oversaw manufacturing planning of motorcycles, business development, strategy for BMW Group Powertrain and BMW R&D’s Innovation Field.
Gabriel earned a degree in manufacturing engineering and taught innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Huddersfield since 2010.
He worked as an executive corporate adviser with C-suit board members of five Fortune 500 Corporates in Germany, the US and Japan since early 2015 to help them build, launch and grow their CVC units, review R&D innovation strategies such as technical roadmaps and new business models to help existing CVC funds to be more strategic.
In addition, Gabriel has made several angel investments for 16 years from his own family office in Munich. His passion for innovation and tech has contributed to his longstanding experience and extensive network in venturing.