26 – 100 in alphabetical order by company: Suzanna Chiu, head, Amadeus Ventures

Suzanna Chiu heads up Amadeus Ventures, the corporate venturing unit of Spain-based travel software and technology services provider Amadeus IT Group.

Based in Madrid, where the parent firm is headquartered, Chiu started as senior manager of strategic planning in 2012, until she was appointed to head of ventures in 2014.

Regarding last year, Chiu said: “2020 was a tough year for travel without a doubt and for 2021 we look forward to making one to two new investments to add new blood into our portfolio.

“Sustainability is a key topic that we want to focus on a bit more this year on how we can support the industry to achieve various net-zero growth goals. Another one will be safe travel and continue to explore how the health element interacts with travel being relevant to the industry on an ongoing basis and not just during the current pandemic.

“Even though we have not exited any of our portfolio companies last year, some of them are in the works and we would be supporting those discussions as well.”

In addition to corporate venturing, Chiu is also helping Amadeus identify new opportunities. “At the moment, on top of my responsibilities with Amadeus Ventures, I am also leading the discussion on diversification internally – to explore growth opportunity for ourselves for the mid to longer term.

“A lot of the visibility and knowledge acquired through the ventures programme is very valuable and unique from a corporate standpoint, to get first-hand information on where the market and VC trends are and where growth can be.

“In a way, we are working on the upstream strategy that drives not only ventures’ investment direction – and to also make sure that all corporate instruments like mergers and acquisitions, ventures and partnerships work cohesively to achieve one set of corporate goal that is agreed and shared across the organisation.

“It comes back to the strategic relevance of a ventures programme to a corporation where we would be able to foster early-stage growth opportunities when it is too early for acquisition due to future market uncertainty or other factors.

“We are also working more closely with Amadeus Partnership Program which will be relaunched before the summer. Given our strong relationship with the startup ecosystem, it would be yet another way to share the dealflow that we generate and be able to create more value for both the corporate and the startups.”

Chiu began her career in management consulting at Accenture in Hong Kong and investment banking after her MBA in Hong Kong and London. She studied at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for her undergraduate degree, with a major in statistics and a minor in computer science and psychology.

“I was seriously considering switching professional path to clinical psychology at a certain point but settled with Accenture (Andersen Consulting) after all. At that time they were heavily engaged with the telco in Hong Kong to deliver probably one the first IPTV (internet protocol television) and video-on-demand project in the world and I guess that got me hooked on to tech ever since.”