Top 50 Rising Stars 2021 continued (in alphabetical order by CVC unit): Erning Cao, investment director, Evonik Venture Capital

Erning Cao is an investment director at Evonik Venture Capital (EVC), the corporate venture capital (CVC) arm of chemical producer Evonik, focusing on its activities in Asia.

EVC managing director Bernhard Mohr said: “Erning Cao joined our team in 2018 to set up and run our VC operations in China, based in Shanghai. Prior to joining EVC, Erning had an impressive working history with Evonik, Siemens and Alstom.

“Upon joining EVC in April 2018, Erning managed to build up a strong deal flow pipeline that already originated three direct investments in China since the past 14 months. This includes Meditool, a startup specialising in PEEK (polyether ether ketone) 3D-printed implants for neuro and spinal surgery, and Smart AHC, a specialist in artificial intelligence for animal husbandry.

“Through Erning’s efforts, EVC is now positioned as a well-recognised investor and partner in the Chinese and Asian startup environment.”

Cao added: “I find that CVC is perhaps one of the very few opportunities that I could not only utilise all my past experiences gathered from different functions and regions but still have the opportunity to add to my knowledge every day.

“I enjoy very much to meet and talk to those talented and passionate peers and entrepreneurs who are trying to make a positive difference to the world. Through the venturing activities, I feel myself like an entrepreneur who brings together the startups and Evonik to create value and make the world a better society.”

Cao set up the EVC internal and external processes in the region from scratch. He said: “Asia’s VC industry accounts for more than one-third of the world in terms of both number of deals and invested amount. I wish to catch up with my [Europe and North America-based] peers quickly and contribute at least one-third of investments from Asia.”