26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Murray Grainger, former managing director and head, and Kamal Vasagiri, interim managing director and head, Honeywell Ventures

Murray Grainger served as managing director and head of Honeywell Ventures, the corporate venturing arm of US-based industrial product and software producer Honeywell, for four years until March 2021 when he departed and handed on the baton to Kamal Vasagiri, who has assumed the roles on an interim basis.

“Honeywell Ventures really delivered on getting us access to real business sponsors and owners,” said Prakash Nanduri, chief executive and co-founder of business information platform developer Paxata, which had been acquired by data science technology producer DataRobot in late 2019.

Grainger has experience in general management, finance, business development, investor relations and strategic marketing. Just before joining Honeywell Ventures in 2017, he led the integration of material handling automation and software engineering company Intelligrated, a $1.5bn acquisition.

He joined Honeywell in 2004 as director of M&A for more than three years where he executed over $5bn of cross-border buy and sell-side transactions, including with petroleum refining, gas processing and petrochemical production group UOP.

Honeywell Ventures scored two exits in 2019, and it has backed companies in sectors spanning across areas such as advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, quantum computing, unmanned autonomous systems, healthcare, retail, space, robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as worker productivity.

The unit has made six new investments and 10 follow-on deals in recent months, most recently backing companies including customer relationship management platform developer Tact.ai, quantum computing software providers Zapata Computing and Cambridge Quantum Computing, and explainable AI DarwinAI.

Drug manufacturing informatics platform developer Bigfinite is also among the portfolio companies, as are AI-equipped flight control system developer Daedalean and Airmap, the developer of an airspace management system for drones.

In total, the unit has backed 25 unique portfolio investments across seven countries – Canada, China, India, Israel, Switzerland, the UK and the US, with more than $100m deployed since the unit’s launch in 2017. Regarding plans for the year ahead, Grainger said: “We would like to continue to invest in strategic priorities for Honeywell, focusing on new areas such as sustainability and renewables.”

His deep expertise in evaluating operations, commercial opportunities and new technologies gives him an ability to identify and deliver on value-creating partnership opportunities, having helped build a global fund partner platform for Honeywell Ventures.

On pain points encountered when managing the unit, Grainger said: “Partnerships are very hard to develop within a large corporate; however, the benefits, both tangible and intangible, can be valuable for both parties.”

Murray, who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Sydney and a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University, advised his fellow corporate venturers: “Be consistent in good time and bad. Always support the ecosystem.”

Edison Fu

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