The top 25: Arvind Purushotham, global head of venture investing, Citi Ventures

Arvind Purushotham leads the venture investing group at Citi Ventures, the corporate venture capital (CVC) unit of financial services provider Citi, where he manages corporate venturing initiatives and invests in strategic deals.

Vanessa Colella, Citi’s chief innovation officer, head of Citi Ventures and head of Citi Productivity, said: “Partnership is one of the most important ingredients for a successful CVC team and Arvind Purushotham embodies all the qualities that make a successful partner.

“Arvind believes that emerging technologies and forward-thinking startups can drive innovation and push companies like Citi forward, but he also understands and appreciates the business challenges and constraints our colleagues face. He tactfully builds connections and has proven himself to be a tireless advocate for our portfolio companies while also serving as a trusted adviser to our Citi colleagues.

“Under Arvind’s leadership and dedication to partnership, Citi Ventures has helped over 50% of our portfolio companies sign commercialisation deals with Citi and the team has continued to embed itself deeper and deeper into Citi’s core businesses. I am immensely proud of Arvind’s work and look forward to seeing what the team continues to deliver over the coming year.”

In the past year, Citi Ventures has backed numerous companies including digital notary services provider Notarize, risk management software developer Feedzai, ticket and accommodation booking platform Hopper and identity verification software provider Socure.

Employee engagement and performance software provider Centrical, speech recognition technology developer Deepgram and software delivery platform developer Harness are also among its recent investments.

Concerning the Impact Fund formed last year, Purushotham said: “The $150m fund will make equity investments in ‘double bottom line’ private sector companies that have a positive impact on society. This is the largest fund of its kind to be launched by a bank using its own capital. Investments of up to $10m will primarily be made in post-product companies that have demonstrated proof of concept, built an existing customer base, secured prior rounds of funding and exhibited the potential for scale in multiple markets. There will also be an emphasis in funding businesses that are founded or led by women and minorities.”

He added that the fund also launched a new focus area on proptech, saying: “While we have been working with several startups over the last few years that are relevant to the property management and real estate markets, we see this as a growing area that deserves its own focus. So far, we have made investments in four proptech companies – HomeLight, Reonomy, Roofstock and Unison – and we are looking forward to more in 2020.”

Before Citi, Purushotham spent nearly a decade as a managing director at venture capital firm Menlo Ventures, where he was an investor and board member at companies including Kazeon Systems, Cavium Networks, Solidcore, nCircle Network Security, Intelligent Results and Vhayu Technologies. Previously, he was a design engineer and a program manager at chipmaker Intel Corporation.

Purushotham obtained his bachelor and master of science in electrical engineering respectively from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Case Western Reserve University, and an MBA with distinction from Harvard Business School.