The rest of the 50 (in alphabetical order): João Maia, corporate venture capital investor, Andrade Gutierrez

João Maia has been an investor for Brazil-headquartered diversified conglomerate Andrade Gutierrez (AG)’s corporate venture capital (CVC) team since January 2019.

He joined the organisation in 2012 as a civil engineering intern and was involved in construction site management, having also participated in AG’s international graduate program in 2015, before making his way up to roles including senior supply chain analyst and senior business development executive.

After developing the transmission lines market for Latin America for three years with more than $1bn in contract backlog, Maia started his journey in the CVC world. At that time, AG’s startup acceleration program, Vetor AG, was completing its first year and did not yet have concrete equity or financial strategies.

Regarding his new career in CVC, Maia said the opportunity to work with multidisciplinary challenges, beyond the scope of engineering and construction core activities, and especially with the development of new business opportunities related to innovative early-stage startups was attractive.

Maia continued: “I would also add the need of exercising daily entrepreneurship, strategic thinking and M&A operations immersed in an innovative environment, pursuing out-of-the-box solutions to real problems that could enhance AG’s competitiveness and help it to win new stream of revenues.

“Finally, it is extremely rewarding and a true source of motivation the possibility of investing and speeding up entrepreneurs’ dreams with meaningful impacts on Brazilian society.”

Maia said the unit delivered a consistent CVC conception plan to AG’s board of shareholders, adding: “To put that in context, the construction sector has been for decades very reluctant in the adoption of innovative practices and has faced an important crisis during the past few years.

“In the meanwhile, I have led our two first investment deals with graduated startups from AG’s acceleration program, and also coordinated the request of AG’s first patent, as a result of one of our investments.”

Hoping to be a true differentiator in the innovation ecosystem with a proven investment thesis and a relevant financial return, Maia said he would like to focus on social impact ventures eventually, by perhaps starting his own VC fund.

Maia studied civil engineering and civil construction at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Edison Fu

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