Mariano Menkes, director of corporate development, Enterprise Mobility Ventures, is one of our Top 50 Rising Stars in corporate venturing for 2024.

After spending nearly a decade in private equity, Mariano Menkes joined the CVC world as director of corporate development at mobility solutions company Enterprise Mobility in early 2022, learning the CVC trade in the furnace of the venture downturn.

“I have always been very focused on the strong unit economics. That has always been crucial, even in the good times,” says Menkes, emphasising how a detail-orientated approach helps companies reach profitability in a tough market. “Our goals are strategic and financial, but we like to act as a financial CVC, helping the startups as much as we can on the financing side, making introductions, helping them think through their business plans. Sometimes our[ownership] percentage does not reflect how much value we bring,” says Menkes.

His in-depth due diligence analyses have proven highly valuable, particularly as we assess new deals.

His advice to those starting in CVC is to network, make sure you know your focus areas and always focus on the management team. “I have always been a great proponent that in the end you are investing in management teams of startups. Even if the idea is great, if the management team has a problem, most likely we will pass,” he says, adding that yellow flags should not be ignored as they may pose a problem down the line.

Menkes has been instrumental in the origination and execution of investments into startups, such as mobile battery systems producer Moxion Power and mobile EV charger technology maker FreeWire Technologies.

“His in-depth due diligence analyses have proven highly valuable, particularly as we assess new deals. Recently, his insights prompted a reconsideration just as we were about to commit to a new investment – after looking further into it, we decided to pass on the opportunity. We are lucky to have Mariano in our team,” says Robert Wetzel, vice president for corporate development at Enterprise Mobility.

See the full list of GCV Rising Stars for 2024 here.