GCVI 2018 Roundup: The Next Generation of Corporate Venturing

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GCVI 2018 Roundup: The Next Generation of Corporate Venturing

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The 2018 GCVI Summit heralded the next generation of corporate venturing--mature organizations that have deep strategic roots in their parent companies and sustained engagement with their broader innovation ecosystems. It also introduced a wave of newcomers to the space, companies that can learn from these best practices.

The 2018 Global Corporate Venturing and Innovation (GCVI) Summit welcomed over 700 participants to Monterrey early this month. My biggest take-a-way: there has been a paradigm shift in corporate venturing, in which corporate venture capital (CVC) is a key strategic lever for capturing value from external innovation.

CVC’s historic reputation is based on clichés. It is “here today, gone tomorrow;” “all about the corporate;” “full of empty, strategic, promises;” or “corp dev executives trying to play venture capitalists.”. But a new generation of mature CVCs have busted these stereotypes.

Successful CVC programs now look very different from their predecessors. They are firmly integrated into the corporate structure, adding value both within the company and to the external innovators in whom they invest. Like traditional VCs, they also are embedded in the larger ecosystem, inviting other CVC programs to collaborate, sharing best practices, and even sharing deal flow. For these mature CVC programs, it is clear that the common questions of the past about whether they could provide tangible value to startups and to the corporation and take their place within the financial VC-driven ecosystem have been put to rest.

Presentations from Wendell Brooks of Intel Capital and Sue Siegel from GE suggested a strong feeling at the conference that CVCs are no longer playing second fiddle to financial VCs – not in concept and not in practice. CVCs are increasingly seen as preferred syndicate partners and are expanding innovation ecosystems around the world by anchoring new innovation communities. Brooks articulated some of the “tremendous advantages over pure financial investors” that CVC had, noting that as a community, CVC investors can make “1+1=5” and that “financial investors are no match.”  Because corporates can offer startups deep technology expertise, deep industry acumen and connections, access to large customers, and many other benefits, CVCs can and should contribute more to their ecosystems and outperform their financial VC counterparts.

Siegel similarly explained that CVCs have matured from being a novel concept within the company to a catalyst for both new growth and cultural change within the corporation itself.  In this regard, Siegel inspired the audience by declaring CVC practitioners as “heroes of impact” for any corporation.

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That said, there are probably ten to twenty corporates new to CVC for every corporate that has achieved the maturity level of a GE or an Intel. Indeed, over 50% of the attendees at GCVI represented new CVC programs. Achieving success in corporate venturing is a long-term proposition. Intel Capital, for example, has been around for 25 years. We believe that success can be accelerated significantly by following best practices. In a series of posts, we will articulate our vision for the next generation of corporate venturing and explain what, in our experience, are the key determinants of success.

About the Authors

Brian Walsh Headshot

Brian Walsh

Corporate Startup Engagement

Brian leads the Next Gen Corporate Venturing and Innovation efforts.

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