Nicolas Sauvage, president of TDK Ventures, is one of the 100 leading corporate venturing professionals in our Powerlist this year.
Nicolas Sauvage founded TDK Ventures in 2019 to help parent company, Japan-headquartered TDK, stay in touch with technological disruptions.
“Our exploration mission is about looking at what could disrupt TDK and make sure we understand it early enough,” he says. “Developing a new product from scratch takes probably five years, so you need to see these disruptions five to seven years in advance if you want to be first to market.”
TDK Ventures recently launched a third, $150m fund, bringing its total capital under management to $350m. It is the first fund in which TDK Ventures has brought in an external investor, Amperex Technology. TDK Ventures also opened an office in India in February.
The team has grown to 25 team members, arranged in what Sauvage terms a “full stack” for venture. That means ten people focused on investments, another group who work on engagement between the startups and TDK, and a “scaling team” who help portfolio companies grow.
“No other CVCs or VCs that I know of have this three-team combination,” says Sauvage.
TDK has so far invested in 29 startups. Recent investments include backing the $15.2m series A round of Novalith, an Australian lithium mining startup, and co-leading the $29m fundraise for US fusion startup Type One Energy.
Sauvage is originally an engineer by training, with a degree from the ISEN Engineering School in France, as well as a master’s degree from King’s College London. He also participated in the executive program at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, and was awarded the Corporate Director Certificate from Harvard Business School.