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AXA Venture Partners (AVP) announces creation of Strategic Advisory Council and welcomes four members: Heidi Messer, Brune Poirson, Bill Aulet and George Stansfield

Paris, October 14th, 2021 –

  • AVP announces the creation of its Strategic Advisory Council (SAC) to advise the management team on strategy and to support portfolio companies’ growth.
  • AVP also reinforces its strong ambition on the growth segment and announces completion of €100m additional closing of its Growth Fund AVP Capital II from institutional investors, family offices and corporates across geographies. This closing brings AVP Capital II to €350m and AVP confirms its target to close AVP Capital II at €500m during the 1st quarter of 2022.

 In the context of its continuing development as a leading investment platform in technology, AVP announces the creation of a Strategic Advisory Council. The goal of the Council will be to support the AVP management team[1] in its strategic thinking and to provide advice, experience and networks to AVP portfolio companies. The Council will be made of renowned experts in diverse and complementary fields, both in Europe and in the US.

AVP is honoured to welcome the first four members of the Council:

  • Bill Aulet (US): Currently Director of the Martin Trust Center / MIT Entrepreneurship Center, and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Bill is also a successful serial entrepreneur, and has written several books on entrepreneurship. He will bring his academic, board experience and practical knowledge of starting and more importantly successfully growing companies to AVP.
  • Heidi Messer (US): Currently Chairperson and co-Founder of Collective[i], Heidi is a successful entrepreneur who has been an active investor in the digital economy since the commercialization of the Internet. As a pioneer in B2B SaaS, artificial intelligence, and network model businesses, Heidi will bring to AVP her expertise scaling high-growth companies, deep knowledge of the technology industry, and network of connectors, particularly in the US.
  • Brune Poirson (France): Currently Chief Sustainability Officer in the Accor Group, Brune has had a career dedicated to environment and ecology within international institutions, public administrations, and private sector, recently as a junior minister for environment in the French government. She will bring to AVP and its portfolio companies a long-term vision on sustainability and a strong awareness of environmental issues and ESG principles.
  • George Stansfield (France): Currently AXA Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer and General Secretary, George has supported AVP since its creation. With extensive experience in financial transactions, a deep international network and a passion for innovation, he will provide unique insights, particularly on international expansion issues.

The objective is to add two or three members to the AVP Strategic Advisory Council over the next 12 months.

François Robinet, Managing Partner of AVP, commented:

In five years, AVP has delivered on its initial vision and has become a global investment platform in technology, capable of helping create world-class technology leaders in Europe and in the US. To continue our upward trajectory, the creation of our Strategic Advisory Council is an important milestone. With the Council, we will benefit from and provide our portfolio companies with, advice and experience from well recognized leaders in different fields. On behalf of the entire management team, I warmly thank Bill, Heidi, Brune and George for the trust they have placed on us and their contribution to AVP. I am convinced that their expertise will give rise to constructive and useful exchanges, while helping AVP and its portfolio companies in many dimensions.

I also want to take this opportunity to warmly thank our new investors in AVP Capital II, our Growth Fund. We are very pleased to have this additional €100m to support entrepreneurs as they scale their companies.  It is an important milestone for our team, and it demonstrates the recognition of our approach by the investing community and especially by global institutional LPs”.

Biographical information:

Bill Aulet

Bill Aulet is Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center / MIT Entrepreneurship where he is responsible for leading the development of entrepreneurship education and teaches as a Professor of the Practice at MIT Sloan School of Management. He is an award-winning educator and author whose current work is built off the foundation of his 25-year successful business career first at IBM and then as a three-time serial entrepreneur. During this time, he directly raised over a hundred million dollars and, more importantly, created hundreds of millions of dollars of shareholder value through his companies. His material is used in hundreds of schools around the world and he was recently named 2021 USASBE Entrepreneurship Educator of the year. His first book, Disciplined Entrepreneurship, Wiley, 2013, has been translated into over 20 languages. Graduated from Harvard and MIT, he is also a board member of MITEK Systems (NASDAQ: MITK) as well as the initial funder and board member of XL Fleet (NYSE: XL) and, most recently, the initial funder and board advisor to Ergatta (Private).

Heidi Messer

Heidi Messer served as a board member, President, and Chief Operating Officer of LinkShare, which she co-founded in 1997. Following the acquisition of LinkShare in 2005 by Rakuten, she partnered with her husband, Tad Martin, and brother, Stephen Messer to create Collective[i]™, an AI-enabled sales intelligence tool. Heidi is a frequent speaker at universities and conferences around the world on entrepreneurship, digital marketing, business intelligence and the future of the Internet. She served on the 2012 Wall Street Journal Executive Task Force on Women and participated in the 2014 Wall Street Journal CIO Network as a subject matter expert. She was selected as one of the 100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs by Goldman Sachs as part of their Builders and Innovators Summit in 2012 and received the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Technology Pioneer Award at the United Nations in 2014. Heidi received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Brown University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum Claude. She received her juris doctorate from Harvard Law School, graduating cum laude.

Brune Poirson

Director of Sustainable Development at Accor, Brune Poirson has always been committed to the environment sustainability and combines experience in both private and public sectors. She has been member of major bodies in France and internationally. After a brief stint as a member of the National Assembly, she was appointed Secretary of State to the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition where she promoted the anti-waste law, to tackle plastic pollution. Three years later she was chosen as Vice-President of the United Nations Environment Assembly. Brune Poirson started her career in London in the UK Innovation Foundation, then joined l’Agence Française de Développement, and Veolia in India, before working for an incubator for green startups in Boston. Brune Poirson has graduated from the London School of Economics, the IEP in Aix and the Kennedy School at Harvard.

George Stansfield

Mr. George Stansfield is AXA Group Deputy CEO & General Secretary and a member of the Group Management Committee. In this capacity, he is responsible for oversight of Group Human Resources, Legal, Compliance, Public Affairs, Internal Audit, GIE AXA (Corporate Headquarters), and Group Communications, Brand and Sustainability. Prior to being named Group Deputy CEO, Mr. George Stansfield held a variety of positions with the AXA Group including Group General Counsel and Head of Group Human Resources. He began his career in New York as a corporate lawyer for Equitable Life. George Stansfield graduated from Georgetown University with a law degree and a degree in history from Trinity College. He is also a member of the New York Bar.


AXA Venture Partners (AVP) is a global venture capital firm investing in high-growth, technology-enabled companies. AVP has built, in less than five years, a unique investment platform specialized in tech investments with $1billion million of assets under management through three pillars of investment expertise: early stage, growth stage, and fund of funds. To date, AVP has invested in more than 50 companies and more than 25 funds. The AVP team operates globally with offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Paris, and Singapore. Beyond investments, AVP provides unique access to business development opportunities helping portfolio companies to scale globally and accelerate their growth.


Sébastien LOUBRY
Partner, Global Head of Business Development

DGM Conseil
Thomas de Climens | / Quentin Hua |

[1] F. Robinet, M. Agarwal, I. Akram, S. Loubry, D. Maier, M. Lewden, A. Scherbakovsky, B. Fosseprez