The top 50: Kurt Kaltenegger, head of ABB Technology Ventures

Kurt Kaltenegger has led ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), the corporate venture capital (CVC) unit of Switzerland-based industrials group Asea Brown Boveri (ABB), since 2019.

Having joined the parent company in 1991, Kaltenegger built up the ABB research centre in China and established and pioneered the role of chief technology officer China for ABB from January 2007 to February 2010.

He returned to ABB headquarters to build up ATV together with Girish Nadkarni, who had already started late in 2009 working on the company’s CVC concept.

Kaltenegger’s initial role at ATV involved screening the global technology development landscape for “disruptive, game-changing technologies” related to ABB’s business. He has been leading investments since 2015. To date, ATV has invested more than $300m into startups in areas ranging from robotics, industrial internet-of-things, and artificial intelligence and machine learning to cybersecurity, electric mobility, smart buildings and distributed energy.

At present, the unit has a portfolio of almost 30 businesses. Among ATV’s recent investments have been a co-lead role in the $49m series B round for Automata, a London-based robotic company, and a role in the $136m series C round for Israeli data processing business Hailo (Unicorn).

It has realised exits from a number of businesses, including robotics developer Persimmon Technologies, which was bought by Sumitomo Heavy Industries in 2017, Enervalis an AI smart grid company in the Netherlands, In-Charge, active in the e-mobility sector, in the US, Spear Power, Li-Ion battery systems, in the US and a partial exit of CMR Surgical, a surgery robotic company and Unicorn in the UK, just as a few examples.

Kaltenegger has a master’s degree in solid state physics from Karl-Franzens University Graz, and a PhD in quantum physics from Montanistic University Leoben. Both institutions are in Austria.