26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Christopher Bartlett, head, Verizon Ventures

Since October 2018, Chris Bartlett has been senior vice-president of corporate development at US-based telecommunications firm Verizon and head of its corporate venturing unit, Verizon Ventures.

He said: “It is an honour to be a part of GCV’s Powerlist 2021 with this talented group of CVC leaders investing in the founders of tomorrow. As new ways of working, collaboration and connecting continue to emerge at a rapid pace, the team at Verizon Ventures looks forward to the continued support of entrepreneurs building the 5G future across the globe. And, thank you to the global corporate venturing community for [your] support as we all come together to solve the complex challenges of our times.”

Verizon Ventures focuses on early-stage developers of 5G, artificial intelligence, big data, virtual and mixed reality, the internet of things (IoT), financial, healthcare, sports and live streaming technologies, among others.

Verizon Ventures has been targeting developers of 5G-related technologies such as connected devices and hardware, media and entertainment, commerce and advertising, infrastructure and networking, as well as data and analytics.

At Verizon Ventures, Bartlett oversees joint ventures, strategic investment activity, acquisitions and divestitures. The unit has invested in more than 70 companies to date across industries and technologies since its launch in 2000.

At the Global Corporate Venturing & Innovation (GCVI) Summit in January 2020, Bartlett highlighted the unit’s new focus on 5G. The impact of 5G would be larger than previously believed, he said, adding that Verizon is already building a network to help devices and networks connect.

Bartlett predicted 5G would start gaining traction in 2021 and the following year would be even more important for the technology. Verizon Ventures had already been investing in companies with foundation tech for 5G, and it is a strategic topic for many CEOs and chief innovation officers across the telecoms industry.

Verizon Ventures’ investment activities could be a proxy, enabling more efficient connections, initially in the industrial sector, but increasingly more on the enterprise and supply chain sides. Bartlett added: “5G would enable industrial IoT, real-time analytics and faster decision-making.”

As Hans Vestberg, chairman and chief executive of Verizon, pointed out in 2020 chairman’s letter: “2020 in many ways marked the arrival of 5G as a true game-changer for the way consumers learn, work, play and enjoy entertainment.”

Verizon Ventures has been conducting Israel-based deals actively led by GCV Emerging Leader 2021 Merav Rotem-Naaman and fellow managing director Tammy Mahn in Tel Aviv.

In March 2021, the unit backed transport management technology developer Optibus following a deal for cybersecurity software provider Vdoo two months earlier. Its other Israel-based portfolio companies include IoT technology developer Wiliot and Iguazio, which develops machine-learning software.

In addition, software holding company Volaris Group acquired US-headquartered, Israel-founded mobile optimisation technology provider Flash Networks last year that allowed Verizon to exit.

Bartlett came from investment banking firm Morgan Stanley, where he had been a managing director leading North America-based media and communications mergers and acquisitions transactions for nearly 15 years from 2004.

Before his 14-year stint at Morgan Stanley, Bartlett was an associate at Bear Stearns, an investment banking firm that was acquired by its peer JPMorgan Chase in 2008, in media and communications M&A for two years. He started his career in 1996 as an analyst at Arthur Andersen.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from University of Texas at Austin and an MBA from Columbia Business School.