IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of GE Ventures

IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of GE Ventures

April 26, 2017

More new members are coming into the Illinois Venture Capital Association (IVCA), creating more opportunities for the overall membership in expanding the network and experiencing more diversity in the VC and PE industries. The latest new member is GE Ventures, the venture capital subsidiary of General Electric, investing in start-ups within the healthcare, energy, software and advanced manufacturing sectors.
 
The following is a Q&A profile with GE Ventures, which explores the firm’s background and their expectations for interacting with the IVCA.
 
New Member: GE Ventures
Representative: Karen Kerr, Executive Director of Advanced & Additive Manufacturing Investing for GE Ventures
 
IVCA: What is the background and history of GE Ventures?
 
GE Ventures: Founded in 2013, GE Ventures has both a financial and strategic role within General Electric. The aim of the organization is to access innovation, technology and business models, and to provide optionality for future growth opportunities to GE and its partners. We do this through a multimodal innovation platform which includes early market development, equity investing, new business creation, licensing and healthymagination.
 
IVCA: How have the traditions and long history of GE played into the venture industry, as far as what you offer portfolio companies with that experience and expertise?
 
GE Ventures: Once GE Ventures makes an investment, our value-add extends far beyond the capital we deploy. That may sound cliché in today’s competitive investment environment, but when a company becomes a part of our portfolio we provide the full breadth of GE. To do this, we leverage our GE Ventures EDGE program to provide customer introductions to our business units, technical support from our Global Research Centers, training from our world-class Crotonville facility, and many other benefits within our expansive network. GE also operates in 180 plus countries so we are able to help our portfolio companies scale using our global footprint.
 
IVCA: There is a focus for GE Ventures in four specific areas of business – Heathcare, Software, Energy and Advanced Manufacturing. How are these internally recognized as 21st Century investments?
 
GE Ventures: GE is currently undergoing a transformation to become the leading digital industrial company. To support this journey, GE Ventures makes investments aimed at transforming these industries and generating meaningful returns – both financial and strategic.
 
IVCA: What has been one of the biggest success stories in your portfolio holdings for 2016?
 
GE Ventures: In 2016, GE Digital bought two GE Ventures portfolio companies—ServiceMax and Bitstew – to extend its Predix software platform across manufacturing, energy, aviation and oil and gas.  In addition, another recent success involving a GE Ventures portfolio company is TPI Composites, which had an IPO last year.  All of these companies have played a strategic role in supporting GE’s core businesses.
 
IVCA: Since GE Ventures has roots all the way back to Thomas Edison, what spirit of innovation exists today that has always existed in the philosophy of invention and business transformation that is GE?
 
GE Ventures: At GE, we like to call ourselves the ‘124-year old startup.’ We realize that we can’t innovate alone, and that partnerships can help us accelerate innovation and drive better outcomes. We are looking for companies that will grow, thrive and win through innovative products or services that solve real customer needs – in large and growing markets – led by energetic and passionate leaders.  As Thomas Edison said, ‘I find out what the world needs, then I proceed to invent.’ That remains a core part of what we do.
 
IVCA: What does GE Ventures hope to achieve in their interaction with the IVCA?
 
GE Ventures: GE Ventures has a strong presence in Chicago because we firmly believe the Midwest offers great investment opportunities to complement and enhance GE’s operations. Not only are GE’s Transportation and Healthcare businesses headquartered in Chicago, but there are several GE facilities located across the Midwest. The IVCA is a core component of the Midwest investment ecosystem, and we look forward to partnering with the innovative founders and investors within the IVCA’s broad network. The Midwest is known for its collaborative culture, and we are proud to be a part of its entrepreneurial ecosystem.
 
For more information on GE Ventures, go to www.GEventures.com