26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Aruna Subramanian, global head, Sabic Ventures
Aruna Subramanian serves as managing director and board member for Sabic Ventures, the Netherlands-based corporate venture capital (CVC) unit of Saudi Arabia-headquartered petrochemical producer Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic).
“[Corporate venturing has] the potential to make larger-scale sustainability impact happen through investments that are not driven only by shorter-term financial returns but also longer-term strategic returns,” Subramanian said. “CVCs have a unique role to play in the investment space to complement the conventional VC funds.”
Formed in 2011, Sabic Ventures targets developers of technologies relevant to the corporate’s strategic priorities, including advanced materials and composites, alternative feedstocks for chemicals and materials, and clean technology.
“We have made some very interesting investments in companies such as Qpinch, Imtex, Void Technologies and New Leaf which are all enablers of our sustainability focus. We also actively support Sabic’s Trucircle initiative.”
Subramanian joined Sabic Ventures in 2015 as a senior portfolio manager, having come from over two decades of professional experience in the oil and gas, petrochemical and venture capital industries globally.
Managing timeline expectations between startups and the corporate structure and bringing realism into the understanding of upscaling challenges and the time it takes for true market penetration are challenges Subramanian encountered in corporate venturing.
Regarding her ambitions, she said: “Continue to make bigger, better investments and leave a sustainable footprint as my legacy.”
To make the corporate venturing industry stronger, she advised: “CVCs are one part of the whole investment and innovation ecosystem. I find partnering with financial VCs a great combination to bring both strategic and financial value to a startup. We have to work together if we really are going to change the way conventional industries work. The challenge is too big for any one part to handle alone.”
Prior to joining Sabic Ventures, Subramanian held a one-year stint at Chemelot Ventures, where she concentrated on life sciences startups.
She began her career at Schlumberger Oilfield Services, a US-based provider of technology and services to the oil and gas industry, where she spent more than a decade in various roles ranging from field to operations, leading up to a general management position in Australasia.
She explained: “I used to work in the oil industry and started my career on an oil rig in the North Sea.”
After completing her MBA at IMD Business School, Subramanian joined Shell Technology Ventures (STV), the CVC arm of Anglo-Dutch oil and gas supplier Shell, as a senior investment manager.
STV spun off its portfolio companies in 2007 and they were managed by Kenda Capital, which appointed Subramanian a senior investment manager. She identified, evaluated and executed investment opportunities in novel energy-related technology companies, where she also served as a non-executive director.