Marie-Christine Razaire, principal, Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures, is one of our 50 rising stars in corporate venturing in 2023.

Marie-Christine Razaire is a principal at insurance firm Northwestern Mutual’s strategic investment arm, but before she became a corporate venturer, she used to underwrite real estate insurance policies. 

“Now, it’s underwriting people and businesses,” she says. “From a technical standpoint, it’s very similar to how deals were set up in the area of insurance I was in. When you’re interested in working with startups and what they’re building, it’s exciting. But underwriting people is a bit more challenging than buildings!” 

Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures’ investments include core insurance technology as well as fintech, health and wellness. Razaire says a point of pride is the unit reserving $20m for black founders in 2020 following a similar commitment to female founders the previous year. 

The one thing Razaire looks to do is form strong relationships with the founders of portfolio companies. The buildings she used to underwrite might have been in hurricane areas, but if she could defend the deal she would go for it, and she now seeks out founders she can stand by. 

“At early stage it really comes down to the founder and their story”

“At early stage it really comes down to the founder and their story,” she says. “Why are they doing this? It needs to be something that keeps them going for a long time.” 

Razaire makes the Rising Stars list having been promoted from an associate to a principal in April 2022, reporting to Northwestern Mutual Future Ventures’ managing director, Craig Schedler. 

“I’d love to keep going,” she says. “I really enjoy this, I’m at a company that’s super supportive and I’ve learned a lot. I’d love to run a fund someday, but what I appreciate about our team is that it’s small, it’s dynamic and you’re always learning.” 

See the rest of our Top 50 Rising Stars for 2023 here.

Robert Lavine

Robert Lavine is special features editor for Global Venturing.