26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Harshul Sanghi, global head, American Express Ventures

Harshul Sanghi has been heading up US-based payment processing firm American Express’s corporate venture capital (CVC) arm, American Express Ventures (also known as Amex Ventures), since August 2011.

Sanghi said: “Amex Ventures was started with one mission – to drive innovation within American Express by investing and partnering startups around the world. It is all about creating an ecosystem. You need entrepreneurs who believe they can change the world with their ideas. You need venture capitalists and advisers who can help fund the idea, and you need customers to validate the idea.”

Steve Squeri, chairman and chief executive of Amex, added: “You cannot win without an external perspective. You need to understand what is going on in the marketplace. Amex Ventures gives us an opportunity to learn and get that external perspective.”

Amex Ventures plays a central role in driving innovation for American Express. Since 2011, the unit has backed more than 70 startups developing technologies and products surrounding commerce, payments, fraud prevention, data analytics and security.

Amex Ventures invests in startups that can foster and enhance innovation across its parent organisation. The unit helps build partnerships between these entrepreneurs, and Amex and two-thirds of its portfolio companies have commercial partnerships with different American Express business units.

In the past year, the unit has backed small product suppliers’ master vendor Candex, intelligent bank transfer technology provider Orum.io, cryptocurrency trading platform provider FalconX, supersonic jet developer Boom Supersonic, business data platform developer Codat, third-party risk management platform developer Mirato and payment technology provider Melio.

Most recently, Amex Ventures has scored exits through mergers and acquisitions transactions carried out by companies including programming integration software provider Cloud Elements and data analytics, factoring software platform Visor, e-commerce platform ShopRunner and virtual call agent software producer Voca.ai.

Sanghi is a veteran venture capitalist with over 25 years of operating experience in delivering financial returns and strategic value. He helped mobile device maker Motorola Mobility set up a CVC division dubbed Motorola Mobility Ventures in 2005 and had been managing director for the unit for nearly seven years before joining Amex Ventures.

He manages or sits on the boards of portfolio companies including digital money transfer service Abra, now NYSE-listed Bill.com, bulk grocery delivery service Boxed.com, financial management software provider Intacct (now part of enterprise software provider Sage Group), financial planning platform LearnVest (now part of insurer Northwestern Mutual), online insurance platform Next Insurance and retail analytics technology producer RetailNext, among others.

Sanghi holds a bachelor of commerce from University of Mumbai’s Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, a bachelor of science in computer science from University of Oregon and an MBA from IMD Business School.

Edison Fu

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