Nazim Cetin, CEO of Allianz X, is one of the leading corporate venturing professionals in our 2024 Powerlist.

Since joining Allianz X, the CVC arm of German financial services conglomerate Allianz, in 2017, Nazim Cetin has shifted the venture unit’s investment strategy to focus on late-stage startups and instituted a hands-on approach to portfolio management.

This strategy appears to have paid off for the unit financially. The portfolio has grown to 25 investments, with almost €2bn in assets under management and it counts 12 unicorns among its portfolio so far.

Unlike many corporate venturing units that have recently backed riskier early-stage startups, Cetin’s investment strategy is more conservative. The team takes a wait-and-see approach, looking for an acceleration in a technology before it considers investment. This means startups should have a settled team, are used to working with corporates and have a product that is on the market and can be implemented.

“It is much easier to work with those companies than with others that are still in the development phase. That is why we said we would shift the strategy and go for later-stage companies,” says Cetin.

The CVC unit has a relatively large team of around 40 members. Every team member who has a relationship with a portfolio company is talking to the CEO of the startup at least twice a month. Cetin likes to be closely involved in helping businesses in the portfolio grow. “We want to be a real partner, not just turning up to a board meeting,” he says.

In November 2023, Allianz X opened an office in New York, the first outside of Germany. Part of the team moved to the new location to be closer to US investments.

Cetin joined Allianz X from German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, where he was vice president of corporate development and new businesses. He founded the first German magazine focusing on philosophy and economics, Agora42. He also spent several years in investment banking.

Powerlist cover

The Global Corporate Venturing Powerlist represents the 100
individuals spearheading the future of the corporate venturing industry.

These individuals excel in terms of their venturing approach and structure, number and quality of portfolio companies and in their contributions to the corporate venturing profession.

See the full 2024 Powerlist here.