26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Kai Engelhardt, managing director, Brose Ventures

Kai Engelhardt is managing director at Brose Ventures, the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of Germany-based automotive parts producer Brose.

First announced in late 2019, Brose Ventures forms part of an investment initiative that involves deploying €1.5bn to €2bn ($1.6bn to $2.2bn) of capital. Previously, Brose had conducted some corporate venturing deals, including participating in rounds raised by 3D metal printer developer Aim3D in 2018 and electric drive developer Torqeedo six years before, the latter was acquired by engine manufacturer Deutz in 2017.

Brose produces electronically commutated motors, car doors and seat systems. Its headcount stands at approximately 26,000 employees and it operates offices in 64 locations across 24 countries. The CVC subsidiary will concentrate on innovations relevant to Brose’s existing operations and new areas of business.

Engelhardt had previously been with car component producer Mahle for nearly 13 years, having most recently been head of global digitalisation for almost three years. He had also been head of CVC for five years from late 2012.

At that time, Mahle sought automotive technology developers working on CO2 reduction, and combustion and electric powertrain technology, as well as companies specialising in cleantech and industrial innovation. In addition to direct venture capital investments, the company also made limited partner commitments in other funds including energy and water technology-focused venture capital firm Emerald Technology Ventures.

During his stint at Mahle, the corporate invested in autonomous machine vision technology developer Inspekto, having also supported startups such as spare parts e-commerce platform Retromotion and fragrance system producer Iqento.

Many of Mahle’s past investments had been in the form of mergers and acquisitions rather than venture capital, Engelhardt told Global Corporate Venturing in an interview in 2015, and businesses it had acquired included oil pump technology manufacturer Entec and water treatment technology developer InnoWa.

Engelhardt, a GCV Powerlist award winner in 2014, said he had decided to return to ventures after two years as head of digitalisation at Mahle after reading Corporate Venturing: A Survival Guide, published last year. He added that he had other “very tempting options” but decided he would go for the topic he felt most passionate about.

Engelhardt holds a master of engineering from University of Konstanz and an MBA from University of Lugano. He also obtained a certificate and private equity from Technische Universität München and another for chief digital officer from RWTH Aachen University.