The rest of the 50 (in alphabetical order): Tony Liu, manager, Advantech Corporate Investment

Tony Liu oversees the corporate venture capital (CVC) activities for Taiwan-based electronics producer Advantech, which concentrates on internet-of-things (IoT) intelligent systems and embedded platforms.

Liu said: “Advantech corporate investment is responsible for external mergers and acquisitions (M&A) and strategic investments. Besides doing M&A do expand our product portfolio and worldwide sales coverage, we co-create with our upstream key component suppliers and downstream domain focused system integrators through strategic investment, and we share our procurement, RD, sales and marketing resources with our co-creation partners to accelerate the business growth together with Advantech. We started the co-creation activities about five years ago.”

Jack JT Huang, founder of Taiwan Renaissance Platform and Honorary Chairman, Taiwan M&A and Private Equity Council, said in his nomination of Liu: “Tony Liu is one of the youngest yet most well-respected corporate venturing leaders in Taiwan, and heads the corporate venturing unit of Advantech – a leading IoT intelligent systems and industrial automation company with over $1.5bn in annual revenue.

“Tasked with achieving extremely ambitious numerical targets, Tony has led the development of a unique corporate venturing approach called co-creation: instead of starting with financial investment, Advantech makes its powerful WISE-PaaS platform available to promising growth-stage companies, to jointly develop and validate new solutions to clients in a wide range of domains. With the corporate venturing unit well on track to achieve its aggressive targets, Tony has indeed earned his peers’ lofty praise.”

Liu said he was attracted to CVC because it has more strategic vision besides financial returns, and more actions can be taken to create value for post-investment management. It also provides more opportunities to become involved in different business activities such as sales, marketing, business development and solution development, which can make him into a better investor, he said.

Regarding his success, Liu said it was the strategic investment in printed circuit board supplier Allied Circuit in 2015, adding: “The internal rate of return (IRR) of the investment is around 25% from 2015 to 2019.” Another deal he conducted was for solid-state drives supplier Phison Electronics in 2015.

Liu earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MBA from National Taiwan University. He was an equity research analyst at an investment company, having also worked as a product manager at Advantech for two years before transferring to the CVC division.

Edison Fu

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