Adarsh Sowcar, external ventures manager, Nova by Saint-Gobain, is one of our 50 rising stars in corporate venturing in 2023.
It’s impressive to be an expert in even one industry or sector but Adarsh Sowcar’s knowledge has to span several. As external ventures manager for advanced materials producer Saint-Gobain’s Nova unit, his role involves examining a range of deeptech startups.
That means not only judging how important the technology could be for Saint-Gobain but also understanding the problem each company is addressing and the level of impact it will have long term.
“Sometimes, it’s quite challenging to assess that because it can look promising, but once you start digging into the details there are a lot of factors that need to be considered,” he says. “Really assessing that is something I enjoy, it’s the really fun part of the job.”
Sowcar’s experience with venture capital started with making angel investments in his home country of India, a process which helped him decide what to look for in a portfolio company: energy, and a vision and technologies with the potential to change the world.
“I saw the impact startups can bring in terms of new innovations,” he says. “I myself was on the other side. I worked at a startup raising capital, and I think those experiences inspired me to get into corporate venturing.”
Nova hired Sowcar in 2018 by which time much of his career had been spent in product management at several US companies. Sowcar says that experience gave him an understanding of the pitfalls and challenges in bringing new technologies to the market, commercialising them and making them successful.
“When I’m evaluating new startups as an investor, having the experience of knowing what works helps, especially with bringing deep tech innovations to the marketplace,” he says. “Working with customers that are large corporations gives me a good understanding, both in terms of the potential challenges and the timeline associated with making it happen.”
See the rest of our Top 50 Rising Stars for 2023 here.