Thomas Whiteaker, co-founder and partner at IBM Ventures, is one of the 100 leading corporate venturing professionals in our 2024 Powerlist.

Thomas Whiteaker

Thomas Whiteaker, an investment partner of corporate venture capital unit IBM Ventures, leads strategic investments for the $500m Enterprise AI Venture Fund that was launched in November 2023.

Whiteaker joined US IT technology group IBM in 2019 and helped rebuild IBM Ventures, whose initial iteration was launched in 2001. The team has 11 members, including fellow co-founder Ben Daniels and a third partner, Adarsh Sekhar.

Startups that the new AI fund invests in will have the opportunity to develop partnerships with IBM, including building on Watsonx, the firm’s AI model training platform, and receive guidance on product and engineering development and go-to-market strategies.

IBM Ventures invests in early-stage enterprise software companies covering areas such as generative AI, data, cybersecurity, quantum computing and sustainability.

“Startups that the new AI fund invests in will have the opportunity to develop partnerships with IBM”

The unit has 14 active portfolio companies, having most recently backed the funding rounds of natural language data processing platform Unstructured Technologies and machine learning-focused dataset aggregator Synthetaic.

IBM Ventures has achieved several successful exits recently. The latest was the acquisition of cloud security company Gem by its peer Wiz in March 2024 for $350m. IBM Ventures had taken part in Gem’s $23m series A round just five months prior.

Before joining IBM Ventures, Whiteaker led the spinout of Propel Venture Partners, the strategic investment arm of BBVA, which was founded in 2012 and then spun out into an independent investment firm in 2016.

Whiteaker has a long history in corporate venture capital. Before BBVA, he set up Hartford Ventures, the corporate venturing unit for insurer Hartford Financial Services Group. He also headed Visa Ventures, the strategic investment arm of payment services company Visa, for eight years between 2000 and 2008.

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.