26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Stéphane Longuet, co-founder and managing director, Convivialité Ventures

Stéphane Longuet is managing director of Convivialité Ventures, France-headquartered liqueur group Pernod Ricard’s US-based corporate venture capital (CVC) arm.

Christian Porta, Pernod Ricard’s managing director of global business development, said: “Pernod Ricard’s vision is to be ‘Créateurs de Convivialité’, which means that we create the conditions to transform every social encounter into a unique experience of authentic sharing—bringing the right product at the right moment at the right place. How? We are transforming Pernod Ricard business model into a Conviviality Platform: it is about leveraging data, technology, new ways of workings and above all our collective intelligence.

“Convivialité Ventures is one of our key assets to identify partners, promising business models and explore the future of Conviviality. They are a tool for the group transformation and innovation outside of the core, in services and experiences. Our investments and partnerships with portfolio startups like Glovo (on-demand delivery), Fever (experiences marketplaces) or BrideElysee (weddings) have already started to deliver meaningful strategic benefits.”

Convivialité Ventures has a team of nine people based in San Francisco, Shanghai and Paris and is now venturing into India. The unit has made investments across the three geographies: nine in the US, five in China and six in Europe, Middle East and Africa. It has participated in rounds raised by delivery services provider Glovo, leisure activity discovery platform Fever and wedding registry Zola.

Convivialité Ventures is now looking to increase the fund size in a bid to open an office in India and to add two team members, according to Longuet. In addition, it is exploring investment opportunities in Southeast Asia with the support of Chen “Leo” Wang, head of Convivialité Ventures of Greater China and Southeast Asia.

Longuet said for his Global Corporate Venturing Rising Star profile in 2019: “In 2017, I was tasked to create the new CVC activity for the group, based in San Francisco, to invest in B2C (business-to-consumer) startups in the conviviality space. Becoming a VC investor was completely new to me. I started by hiring a team and crafting a strategy that could pave the way to a long-term return on investment for the group, both financially and strategically.”

Today, the unit is looking to expand its investment thesis to include more B2B (business-to-business) topics such as sales and marketing, sustainability and responsibility.

Regarding what corporate venturers can do better as an industry, Longuet advised: “Play the VC game while investing, meaning having the same rights as everyone, be a good and easy co-investor with VCs.

“Do not force a partnership – adapt the partnership to the maturity of the startup, meaning when it makes the most sense for both the startup and the corporate.”

A DJ in his spare time, Longuet has worked with Pernod Ricard for two decades, where he helped grow various drinks brands. Previously, he led the integration of Absolut into Pernod Ricard, following its 2008 acquisition, and was managing director of challenger brands at The Absolut Company, where he led a vodka business from its base in Stockholm, working with global entrepreneurs and designers to launch new products and seeking new opportunities.

He brought this experience and his entrepreneurial spirit to lead Convivialité Ventures to facilitate ecosystem collaborations.