The top 50: Erik Ross, Managing Partner, Nationwide Ventures

Erik Ross serves as head of mergers and acquisitions and venture capital for US-headquartered insurance and financial services firm Nationwide Insurance, and heads its corporate venture capital (CVC) arm, Nationwide Ventures, as managing partner.

The unit, which was launched by Ross in 2016, had committed $100m to startup investments in 2017 before it augmented the capital to $350m in February 2021. The unit has 28 active portfolio companies in areas including proptech, insurance enablement, cybersecurity, mobility, future of work and eldercare technology.

Nationwide Ventures typically invests in early-stage companies with the aim of generating financial returns, creating strategic insights and accelerating current and future capabilities for the parent business by partnering with startups which have the “potential to transform the insurance and financial services industries”.

Its most recent deals include participation in the $50m series C raise for Socotra, which has developed a cloud-based insurance policy admin platform, and the $50m series C round for digital health data company Health Gorilla. Other recent investments include healthtech startup EasyHealth, automotive verification platform Foretellix, digital-native warranty provider Extend, insurance verification platform Certificial and digital benefits provider Beam.

Ross’s background spans Fortune 100 companies, early-stage technology startups and the public sector. He was also an executive-in-residence at the MIT Media Lab and has 50 issued patents.

He earned a BSBA from Bloomsburg University with a minor in philosophy and a MBA from Penn State University. On the evenings and weekends, you will find him coaching NICA mountain biking and he likes to relate nearly any situation to an 80s and 90s comedy.