GCV Emerging Leader David Li will help the Australian mining firm’s CVC unit identify energy, climate and mining startups.

David Li

Australian mining group BHP has hired David Li as lead principal at its corporate venture capital arm, BHP Ventures, and tasked him with identifying early-stage energy, climate and mining technology startups.

Formed in 2018, BHP Ventures focuses on sustainability technology developers globally. It has some 20 active portfolio companies including thermal energy storage provider Antora Energy and recycled battery material producer Ascend Elements.

Michael Buzzo was appointed head of BHP Ventures in March this year, overseeing a team of 10 across Australia, the US and Singapore. Li will continue to be based in San Francisco, working alongside his US-based colleagues: fellow lead principal Eric Price and VP of ventures Laurel Buckner.

Previously, Li was senior principal at Avanta Ventures, the now-idle CVC arm of US insurer CSAA Insurance Group. Avanta Ventures ceased its investment operations in March this year to pivot its focus to venture building and other open innovation initiatives.

During his six-year stint at Avanta Ventures, Li was named a GCV Emerging Leader in 2023 and a GCV Rising Star in 2020, 2021 and 2022. He sat on the boards of several portfolio companies.

Before Avanta, Li spent a year at software producer Pivotal Software’s product operations team, which followed a venture investor role at VC firm Longitute Capital and an investment banking position at asset manager Lazard.

Edison Fu

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