The rest of the 50 (in alphabetical order): Christophe Defert, vice-president, Centrica Innovations

Christophe Defert is a vice-president of Centrica Innovations, a corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of UK-based energy utility Centrica, leading its £100m ($128.8m) fund’s venturing efforts.

Defert was attracted to CVC because he enjoys supporting and working with entrepreneurs, while leveraging the corporate’s resources and to benefit the customers and the portfolio companies, and he considers it “challenging, fun and global in nature”.

“I would like to become a trusted partner for entrepreneurs, an innovation tool to benefit Centrica’s customers and ultimately an innovation standard for the industry,” Defert said, who is proud of having been able to set up a team over geographies from San Francisco to Tel Aviv and building a portfolio of over 10 companies in a traditional large corporate without a particularly innovative culture.

He started his career as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch in London before joining private equity firm TowerBrook Capital Partners where he focused on growth equity investments and leveraged buyouts in a variety of industries.

Defert joined Centrica’s M&A team in 2010, and two years later, he went on to lead the European gas origination team as part of Centrica marketing and trading group.

He moved to the US in 2014 where he was appointed director of M&A and corporate development North America for Direct Energy, an energy retailer subsidiary of Centrica, where he led the acquisition of energy management and intelligence company Panoramic Power. Most recently, he was chief of staff to the Direct Energy chief executive.

He also serves as a limited partner for Powerhouse Ventures, a board observer at electrical generator producer EtaGen and chairman of smart data technology developer Io-Tahoe.

Defert holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and international affairs from Colorado College, a finance graduate degree from the London School of Economics and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Edison Fu

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