26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Joshua Berg, director of Innovation Ventures, Magna International

Josh Berg leads Canada-headquartered automotive component producer Magna International’s corporate venturing practice as director of its Innovation Ventures subsidiary, where he oversees venture-related activities globally on behalf of the firm.

Magna International serves clients ranging from Aston Martin to Ford, and its product range is equally diverse, from electronics and chassis to drive trains and seating. The firm operates at more than 300 manufacturing sites worldwide, employing roughly 160,000 people.

Berg established a comprehensive venturing strategy which includes direct investments in startups, limited partner commitments in VC funds, partnerships related to advanced research and development and innovation.

In the annual survey carried out in late 2020 regarding industry trends in 2020, Berg told Global Corporate Venturing: “Aside from the obvious covid inspired trends, robotics technology has exploded in 2020, generating tremendous opportunities in advanced manufacturing.”

Most recently, Magna took part in a March 2021 round for mobility data software developer Populus AI, three months after the corporate participated in a $200m private investment in public equity (PIPE) investment for Innoviz Technologies, the Israel-headquartered lidar technology developer backed by a host of corporate investors, in a reverse merger deal with special purpose acquisition company Collective Growth Corporation.

Last year, Magna participated in the initial $2.5bn tranche in March for the $3bn funding raised by Waymo, an autonomous driving technology spun out of internet and technology group Alphabet.

Magna Innovation Ventures’ portfolio companies include connected car and telematics technology developer Zubie, automated car technology developer Peloton Technology and ThinCI, a developer of artificial intelligence processors.

While not a financial-only investor, Magna scored various exits including Lyft, a ride hailing service provider which went public in March 2019, and connected automotive security software developer Argus Cyber Security in November 2017, when it was acquired by automotive components producer Continental.

Berg had come from GM Ventures (GMV), the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of carmaker General Motors (GM), where he had been an investment manager for three years from 2016, having held various managerial roles at its parent company and its security and roadside assistance service, OnStar.

At GMV, he was a board member or observer for some of its portfolio companies, with an emphasis on automotive and smart mobility technology and its investments include autonomous driving technology developer Nauto and electric bus producer Proterra.

He had been an attorney at law firm Zausmer, Kaufman, August, Caldwell & Tayler, where he maintained a litigation practice until 2010, after receiving his juris doctor degree from Wayne State University Law School.

Concerning his CVC journey, Berg said: “CVC allows me to use all of the skills and experiences that I have accumulated thus far in my career and to marry those experiences with my addiction to professional challenges, never-ending variety and profound respect for entrepreneurs.

“At GMV, I was the lead partner in a connected fleet startup. Along with a direct investment, I negotiated two strategic commercial agreements between GM business units and the startup. This partnership yielded tremendous commercial results and the company was acquired by [cloud computing company] Salesforce bringing a healthy return on GMV’s investment. GM and the startup continue to be partners today.”

Confident that Magna Innovation Ventures will bring the most value for startup founders, VCs and chief executives, Berg added: “In the future, when the automotive and transportation industry has undergone a complete evolution, with many companies having been disrupted, Magna will remain on top of the market.

“In short, my ambition is to build Magna Innovation Ventures into the most effective CVC group in the world.”

Edison Fu

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