26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: George Gogolev, general manager, Severstal Ventures

George Gogolev oversees Severstal Ventures, Russia-based steel, energy and mining group Severstal’s strategic investment vehicle, as general manager.

Gogolev joined Severstal in February 2018, where he helped form Severstal Ventures, after almost six years at state-owned fund of funds Russian Venture Company.

Within the first six months of its existence, Severstal Ventures made a couple of limited partner commitments in venture capital firms Pangaea Ventures and Chrysalix Venture Capital.

The unit also made direct investments, and its portfolio companies include metallurgical technology developer Arcanum Alloys and advanced alloy manufacturer Modumetal, as well as Airborne, which is working on automation technology for composite part manufacturing.

Alexander Shevelev, CEO of Severstal, said: “We have launched a digital transformation programme. It is our firm belief that this process, along with our marketing strategy, focus on customer care and internal expertise, will enable us to improve Severstal’s overall efficiency in the near future.

“One of the main priorities of our strategy is new opportunities, which involves finding and implementing new technologies and solutions to further enhance Severstal’s business processes. We consider Severstal Ventures fund as well as SteelTech Accelerator, Technopark and Digital business teams an effective instrument of working with open innovations.

“We are convinced that our partnerships with tech companies will drive further innovation in the metals sector.”

Andrey Laptev, director of new business and venturing, added: “Severstal is already an industry leader in terms of global cost and profitability. However, we aim to build on this by strengthening our leadership and increasing the cost gap between us and other producers and providing our clients with even more innovative and unique solutions.

“To achieve this, we are building mutually beneficial partnerships with venture funds and tech companies. Investments in venture capital funds provide unique access to a vast range of projects. In addition to investment income, we expect to receive value add benefits, mostly through introducing interesting technologies which will enable us to maintain our leading cost position as well as develop unique products. We believe that Severstal’s approach is unique to the global steel industry, although it is common in other major industries, such as the energy sector.”

Regarding his team, Gogolev said: “We have built a pretty robust team with natural sciences backgrounds, international experience and VC or consulting exposure.” The team includes GCV Rising Star 2021 Ilya Pavlov, who is a vice-president of investments.

“We are a small team, but we need to be an urgency ambassador and a disruption visionary,” added Gogolev. “Personnel’s involvement is key; we do not need ‘employees’ – we need startup mentors.”

Speed is crucial both at the evaluation and the implementation stages, according to Gogolev, who added: “To be recognised by the global community, one needs to stop talking and demonstrate commitment.”

Early in his career, Gogolev worked for numerous startups and made personal investments. From that experience, he concluded tech companies needed to have an interface such as corporate venture capital to connect up with large businesses.

Edison Fu

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