26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Mark Johnson, vice-president of corporate venture capital, Husqvarna Ventures

Mark Johnson serves as vice-president (VP) of corporate venture capital (CVC) at Husqvarna Ventures, Sweden-based outdoor robotics product supplier Husqvarna Group’s CVC arm.

The unit targets developers of robotics technologies focusing on outdoor platforms, sharing economy and sustainability, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, and urban gardening.

Founded in 1689, Husqvarna Group today manufactures outdoor power equipment including chainsaws, trimmers, brush cutters, cultivators, garden tractors and mowers. “Husqvarna Group has been spearheading innovation for 330 years: a proud legacy that we intend to continue,” it said.

“As the world’s largest outdoor robotics company, we offer an unprecedented global manufacturing and sales reach combined with highly skilled research and development teams. We are a big company with an entrepreneurial soul. We are curious, fast-moving and willing to try out things we believe will challenge and move our industry forward.

“We are in the midst of a giant shift to robotics, digitalisation and electrification. This shift will lead us into new types of collaborative ecosystems and business models. Along with our partners, we want to be at the forefront of this evolution, creating great new experiences for our customers and stakeholders, as well as new ways of taking better care of our planet.”

Husqvarna Ventures’ portfolio companies include Franklin Robotics, creator of gardening robot Tertill where Axling holds a board seat; Soil Scout, developer of soil-moisture sensor technology; and MowBot, a supplier of robotic lawnmowers.

Franklin Robotics chief executive Rory MacKean said: “Husqvarna Group is a world leader in outdoor mobile robots; their worldwide presence, deep technical knowledge, and culture of innovation made them a great partner and a natural fit for us as we grow.”

Soil Scout CEO Jalmari Talola added: “Husqvarna Group, with its global footprint and leading position in robotics and digital solutions for green spaces, is a perfect industrial partner for Soil Scout as we continue our growth journey. Despite being a large corporation, they are very entrepreneurial and open to explore innovative solutions.”

Johnson joined the unit in November 2018, after nearly three years as managing director at boutique investment bank Stella, overseeing tech investment and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions.

He explained: “My professional experience is as an M&A adviser, CEO of an IT company [Activio], venture capitalist [at Nordic Venture Partners], IT management consultant [at MicroMenders] and naval officer [at the US Army].

“The red thread throughout my career has been IT, its commercialisation and its applications towards improving business effectiveness.”

Johnson, who was a semi-professional road cyclist and was ranked first in the US Mid-Atlantic region, received his undergraduate education at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis in the US state of Maryland, where he earned a degree in systems engineering. In 2006, he spent one year at the Stockholm School of Economics for an MBA.

Since July 2020, Johnson has also been a board member at MIT Enterprise Forum Cambridge, a non-profit organisation that helps mentor entrepreneurs in the United States.

Edison Fu

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