Ankur Kamalia, managing director and head of group venture portfolio management at Germany-based stock exchange Deutsche Börse, has shaken up the team responsible for managing all of the minority strategic investments through its corporate venture capital (CVC) platform, DB1 Ventures.

Kamalia joined the organisation in November 2015 and set up DB1 Ventures in June 2016 as there was “the critical need for corporates in the current environment to leverage external innovation to meet the opportunities and challenges present and future”.

This was something long on his mind. “In my previous life one of the roles I have had was head of global strategy for UBS’ investment bank [until July 2013] and I was also part of the operating committee.

“Marrying strategy, innovation with strategic investments was a need that was apparent then too.”

Kamalia, who after leaving UBS spent nearly two years at family office WWA in Singapore, added: “A CVC has the ability to leverage extensive market presence enjoyed by an incumbent to truly create value. Value creation is an oft-used term VCs use, whether financial or strategic, and I believe that this process is that much easier within a corporate environment if the sponsorship exists appropriately.

“With a small team of four, we have been able to materially improve our current inherited portfolio.

“We sold and exited 13 investments, for a cash-on-cash return of over two-times within 18 months and gross realised value of over $450m. We have invested over $50m since the establishment of the function [DB1] in seven companies and, more importantly, creating and operationalising the venture platform has been important.”

DB1’s recent deals involving Kamalia as board observer or adviser include Trifacta, RegTek Solutions, Truimid, Digital-plus Partners and Figo.

Kamalia said his biggest challenges had been “finding the right talent, especially as we are an on-balance-sheet model without carry, and ensuring alignment and buy-in from business heads to truly engage in forward value creation”.

But, despite this, he wanted to “expand the platform meaningfully, potentially looking at alternative operating models and potential partnerships as well”.

This would be easier with the industry coming together to develop “a cohesive and potential common framework and measurement principles for key performance indicators for strategic investments, that the industry can adopt as a whole which becomes sort of an International Organisation of Securities Commissions standard, and more transparent sharing of best practices”.

But even after 22 years in financial services, working in seven countries, Kamalia, who calls himself a father, husband, friend, traveller and reader, said: “I am fortunate to do what I do and grateful for it.”