The rest of the 50 (in alphabetical order): Byron Knight, managing director, Koch Disruptive Technologies

Byron Knight is a managing director for Koch Disruptive Technologies (KDT), the corporate venturing arm of industrial and chemicals conglomerate Koch Industries, which aims to help portfolio companies to engage with Koch beyond a capital investor.

KDT president Chase Koch said in his nomination: “In less than two years with KDT, Byron Knight has helped deploy nearly $300m and is responsible for four – which is over half – of KDT’s investments.” The deals in question are metal 3D printer provider Desktop Metal, shopping rewards provider Ibotta, logistics service provider Trackonomy and autonomous vehicle trucking service operator Azevtec.

Koch continued: “Even though Byron is new to the VC world, his unique insights and skills – both as the previous vice-president of e-commerce at [paper goods manufacturer] Georgia-Pacific and his experience with startups – has had immediate, measurable impact.

“KDT’s most unique differentiator, our ability to leverage the resources and collective expertise across all of Koch [through a scheme called Koch Labs], has been spearheaded and developed by Byron and his team.”

For example, Knight was responsible for KDT leading a $150m series D round for Desktop Metal, and the company received assistance from Koch’s engineers to refine its supply chain and other processes, in addition to Koch being a customer of its machines.

“Byron is a leader who is fully committed to KDT’s mission of creating win-win opportunities with our partners and to create transformative value for society.”

Having worked at Koch for more than 14 years, Knight appreciates that it is a company built around entrepreneurship, saying: “The opportunity to create a mechanism like Koch Labs that connects disruptive startups with the capabilities and knowledge of Koch, was too good to pass up.

“Our approach of putting these disruptive innovators first and figuring out what we can bring to the table – to pour rocket fuel on their ideas – is what really gets our team excited. Of course, there is a benefit to Koch as well, both as an investor and in getting access to cutting edge technology that can help us create more value. But KDT’s ‘entrepreneur-first’ approach is what attracted me to the venture capital world.”

Edison Fu

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