The rest of the 100 (in alphabetical order): Paul Sestili, general partner, Rogers Venture Partners

Paul Sestili came to Rogers Venture Partners, the corporate venturing unit established by Canada-based telecommunications and media firm Rogers Communications, two years ago after spending 16 years in venture capital in Silicon Valley.

He began his career in this area with oil major Chevron’s corporate venturing activities back in the 1990s. Sestili said he loved how corporate venturing could help entrepreneurs build companies.

He admired the Rogers Venture Partners platform set up four years ago for bolstering growth and innovation and was drawn to the unit by the opportunity to work with Rogers’ venturing team.

Sestili said: “We have an active portfolio of about 15 companies and have had a couple exits. Our biggest success has been building a stellar team of investment professionals. That starts with my partners, Mike Lee and Will Stewart.

“We all enjoy the process of identifying and investing in new and interesting technologies, and ultimately helping those portfolio companies work with a big, diverse organisation such as Rogers.

“I have been lucky in my career to be involved with some very cool companies, including Okena at Cisco, Coremetrics at IBM, Arcot at CA, Integral and 4Info, both still private. My current portfolio includes Five Stars, a marketing company, Texture, an all-you-can-eat magazine app, and Yodle, local internet marketing.”

Sestili said one of the biggest challenges he had faced in recent years was ever-increasing valuations making it tougher to find value in early-stage investing, as well as finding the right time and place to introduce the venture unit’s portfolio to the wider company.

Considering himself a “recovering engineer” from his years in engineering before going to business school. Sestili said that he intends to continue helping entrepreneurs for as long as possible and is on the US trade body National Venture Capital Association’s corporate venture group board.

Sestili, who attempted to get his own businesses off the ground earlier in his career with “limited success”, said he knows first-hand how hard an entrepreneur’s path is.

Sestili said corporate venturing ultimately comes down to networking: “In addition to getting to know our fellow corporate venturers, we need to work with as many financial VCs as possible. The best opportunities and outcomes result from introductions and co-investment within your network. The more people we all know, the better off we all are. And those networks are the building blocks for long-term corporate venture capital viability.”