26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Amy Daniels Burr, president, JetBlue Technology Ventures

JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV), the corporate venture capital (CVC) and innovation arm of US-based airline operator JetBlue Airways, is led by president Amy Burr and advised by unit founder and former president Bonny Simi.

Before becoming president in July this year, Burr had been managing director of operations and partnerships for three years from 2018, where she focused on building an ecosystem of partners and deployment opportunities for the many technologies of JTV’s portfolio companies.

As head of JTV, Burr will lead JetBlue’s strategic venture investment direction and help integrate startups into the airline’s overall corporate innovation initiatives. She will report to Brandon Nelson, JetBlue’s general counsel and corporate secretary, who also serves as oversight officer of JTV.

Nelson, who was involved with the creation of JTV in 2016 and has served on the subsidiary’s investment committee as chair for the past several years, said: “Amy has done a phenomenal job leading the JTV team over the past several months, and we are looking forward to seeing her bring her innovation experience to life as part of JetBlue’s leadership team.”

Simi added: “Amy and I have been working very closely in preparation for this transition, and I am proud to see her officially step into this role. She is well-positioned to lead the team during its next phase, and I am excited to continue to support her successes as an adviser.”

Regarding corporate venturing, Burr said: “CVC is exciting because it allows companies to utilize emerging technology to solve common business problems. At JetBlue Technology Ventures we are able to really push the envelope on innovation by leveraging travel and hospitality startups, which is a much-needed shakeup for our industry as a whole.

“A big win during my time here was the launch of our International Partnership Program, which is composed of like-minded travel providers interested in working with new technologies to enhance the industry at large. I am also proud of growing our innovation programming for JetBlue Airways and our partners by adding new events like strategy days, demo days and innovation sprints. That aspect of our business has been really fun to grow over the past two years.”

JTV scored another win when air taxi developer Joby Aviation agreed to a reverse merger in February 2021 with special purpose acquisition company Reinvent Technology Partners. The merged business will trade on the New York Stock Exchange once the deal closes by the end of the second quarter of 2021. Simi joined Joby in December 2020 as head of air operations and people.

“Our role as a CVC group is to think about how our business can best partner with startups, but competition for time, money and resources is something that has the potential to hinder leading-edge progress in any organisation,” Burr said.

“The biggest challenge we face is ensuring that our leaders see the value in continuing to research and implement innovative solutions for things they do every day. This is the key value that a dedicated CVC operations team can bring to the parent company.”

Burr has been in the travel ecosystem since early in her career, having joined Continental Airlines in 2000 before shifting to another airline company Virgin America in 2004, when it was still a startup. She holds a bachelor’s degree in applied health sciences from American University and an MBA with a focus on information systems from Darla Moore School of Business.

Edison Fu

Edison Fu is a reporter and Asia liaison at Global Corporate Venturing.