26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Sunita Parasuraman, head of investments, Facebook New Product Experimentation

Sunita Parasuraman was appointed head of investments at Facebook New Product Experimentation (NPE), the subsidiary that US-based social media group Facebook formed to launch consumer-focused apps, in July 2020.

According to Facebook in June 2020, the unit would have a multimillion-dollar fund for limited partner (LP) commitments to venture capital vehicles and direct investments in private companies. NPE has already made three LP commitments to VC funds and is planning to add the direct investment strategy by hiring a small team.

The fund is partially managed by Shabih Rizvi, who spent two years as a founding partner at internet technology provider Google’s artificial intelligence fund, Gradient Ventures, before moving to a business development role at Google in April 2019, until he joined NPE in July 2020.

Regarding the fund investment strategy, Parasuraman told Global Corporate Venturing that by acting as an indirect investor, Facebook would harness the ability to reach diverse founders by letting the general partners perform the deal sourcing.

A source familiar with the plans told Axios last year that Facebook is pursuing investments as a method of keeping track with emerging technologies, rather than operating what they termed as a general-purpose fund. It will make small investments in early-stage companies.

Former Kleiner Perkins general partner Eric Feng, now head of commerce incubations at Facebook, helped approach funds, Axios added, citing sources privy to the matter.

Facebook has been a sporadic participant in corporate venturing but it has taken part in a $125m funding round for Meesho and a $110m series E round for another India-based company, online education provider Unacademy, between 2019 and 2020.

Parasuraman added that Facebook’s corporate venture capital (CVC) programme and the corporate development group will work closely together.

Facebook has been active in mergers and acquisitions transactions, buying venture-backed startups, having paid $1bn for Instagram in 2012, $16bn for WhatsApp in February 2014 and $2bn for virtual reality headset developer Oculus VR the following month.

The firm’s corporate development team also purchased CVC-backed companies including sales software producer Kustomer, street imaging provider Mapillary, searchable GIF repository Giphy, video commerce app developer Packagd and neural interface platform developer Ctrl-Labs.

Prior to joining the NPE team, Parasuraman had spent nine years at Facebook’s treasury group, first as a senior director of global head of treasury before shifting to focus on the Libra blockchain project in 2019.

Before Facebook, she had been treasury manager at virtualisation software producer VMware, pharmaceutical firm Roche’s Genentech subsidiary and consumer electronics producer Apple for eight years altogether.

Previously, Parasuraman concentrated on fixed income portfolio analytics at finance group Barra (now MSCI) and financial media firm Bloomberg.

She holds a bachelor of technology degree in metallurgical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, a master of science in materials science and engineering from University of Pennsylvania and an MBA in finance from University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Edison Fu

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