The rest of the 50 (in alphabetical order): Ben Bergsma, senior associate, Munich Re Ventures

Ben Bergsma joined Munich Re Ventures (MRV), the corporate venture capital (CVC) subsidiary of reinsurance firm Munich Re, in June 2018 as a senior associate. The unit focuses on early-stage companies investing in financial technology, insurance technology, internet of things, artificial intelligence, digital health and mobility from series A to C stage.

Before joining MRV, Bergsma had been part of the founding team for JetBlue Technology Ventures (JTV) and held a brief stint at Samsung Next, respective CVC arms of airline operator JetBlue and consumer electronics producer Samsung.

MRV managing director Jacqueline LeSage Krause said: “From the moment Ben arrived, he has been an integral part of our team overall and a sought after partner to investment leads on deals and afterwards in the board room.

“Ben is a tenacious yet genuine networker with both entrepreneurs and other investors. Representing MRV well, and as a frequent host for events in the insurtech space, he is building a strong reputation as an investor with expertise.

“With these excellent deal and networking skills, he has proven to be a strong syndicator of deals with other VCs and CVCs. There is no limit to where Ben can go both within MRV and in our industry.”

Towards the end of his MBA, he was in the final stages of interviews with multiple venture firms – both corporate and institutional VCs. “Obviously, there are pros and cons for both sides,” he noted. “But after meeting Jacqueline and the MRV team, and learning how the fund structure closely reflects that of an institutional fund, I thought it was the best of both worlds.

“Having worked at an institutional firm in New York that was investing out of its second fund, I saw first-hand how much bandwidth and effort was required to effectively fundraise from LPs (limited partners).

“Being earlier in my investing career, I wanted to land at a place where I could focus on sourcing and deal work. The fact that Munich Re corporate and its subsidiaries – our LPs – are incredibly supportive of our venture group allows the majority of investors on our team to focus on investing.

“Lastly, the fact that I enjoyed working at my prior CVC funds made joining MRV an easy decision.”

Concerning his success at the unit, he said: “My first deal at MRV was our initial investment in Hippo Insurance, a home insurance platform, which has since gone on to become the third unicorn insurtech startup. I also led our investment in Forge Global, a tech-enabled secondary marketplace and custodian, where I serve as a board observer.”

In addition to those deals, Bergsma has “completely rebuilt our financial returns model from the ground up” and made follow-on investments, including series C rounds for internet-of-things technology developer Augury and peer-to-peer wireless communications technology provider Helium among others.

Bergsma, who holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Claremont McKenna College and an MBA from Columbia Business School, said: “I have been lucky to work for a lot of great role models. These individuals are executing new deals and managing entire CVC teams, while simultaneously flying back to corporate headquarters and keeping the parent company happy. I know it requires a massive amount of work, but I want to run my own CVC group within the next 10 years.”

Edison Fu

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