The Top 10: #2 Anil Achyuta, investment director, TDK Ventures

“Anil always goes the extra mile, and always share back strategic learnings wide and deep to our mothership TDK with high-quality self-contained units of learnings ‘TDK Ventures Briefings’,” said Nicolas Sauvage, managing director of TDK Ventures, the deeptech-focused corporate venture capital (CVC) vehicle for the Japan-headquartered electronics manufacturer.

Anil Achyuta is a founding member of TDK Ventures and has been serving as an investment director since its inception in July 2019, where he leads the unit’s energy and healthcare practice.

Achyuta said: “I used to be an operator for most of my career and have always felt that I could not scale myself to invent more. I also have a very wide variety of interests due to my chemical engineering and biology background, so the best career choice for me utilised the full dynamic range of my abilities. Due to my technical acumen, I gravitated towards deeptech-focused funds, which are more appreciated on the corporate side.

“I also enjoy working alongside subject matter experts in corporates and help serve as a glue between the startup and the corporate. These factors led me to focus on deeptech funds on the corporate side.”

Sauvage added: “In the short time of 15 months, Anil has closed five of the 10 deals we announced – Autoflight, Genetesis, Exo, Origin and GenCell [the last two exited in 2020] – with very well researched king-of-the-hill search in each of these very different spaces. Importantly, all portfolio companies have been very impressed and appreciative of his contribution in the context of our ‘TDK Goodness’.

“His due diligence skills were already good when he joined TDK Ventures yet with his ‘can-do’ and ‘always a student’ attitude, these skills have just deepened to a very high level as confirmed by multidecade GPs we work with. Critically, he knows when to lead and when to be led – an important sign of true leadership.”

Regarding TDK Ventures’ focus, Achyuta explained: “We invest mostly in four verticals at TDK Ventures: mobility, energy, healthtech and industry 4.0. My first investment was in an eVTOL company (Autoflight), which falls under the mobility category. My second and fourth investments were in magnetocardiography space (Genetesis) and point-of-care ultrasound space (Exo), which fall under the healthtech category. My third investment was in a 3D printing company (Origin), which falls under industry 4.0 category and my fifth investment was in an ammonia-to-hydrogen fuel cell company (GenCell), which falls under energy.

“So, in a span of 15 months, I have reviewed a total of about 735 startups and have managed to cover all four verticals of TDK’s interest, while also being highly selective. But what I am even more proud of is the fact that each of our investment follows the United Nations’ sustainable development goals and could have a lasting positive effect on our society for an attractive sustainable future. This is something that I cherish most.

“Another success point for me is the ability to be disciplined. I am proud of deciding not to invest a few times even after hundreds of hours of diligence, this is not an easy task as learning more about projects creates a sense of attachment.”

Edison Fu

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