How to succeed in Corporate Venturing (CV)
Updated: Nov 5, 2019
In recent years, rapid disruption led many corporates to develop and set up their own corporate venturing strategy and activities. While in the '90s and 2000's it was predominantly technology companies that engaged in active Corporate Venturing, now the need has spread to market leaders in all industries. At a time when every company needs to be a technology company, Corporate Venturing becomes a necessity. It is a strategic tool that requires a specific focus and expertise that often not resides internally.
Elements of typical Corporate Venturing activity
Corporate Venturing can be regarded as a set of activities that aim to discover and implement innovation. It is highly strategic and while often set up as a separate group, it needs to be closely aligned with the mother company and its various business units. Typically Corporate Venturing may include:
Internal/external innovation challenges,
Accelerator and incubator programs,
Corporate Venture Capital (CVC),
Merger and Acquisition (M&A)
Setting up a Corporate Venturing for success
For Corporate Venturing to be successful it needs to evolve around the company’s specific challenges and unique culture. There needs to be clear objectives and definition of scope.
The CV unit needs to be independent while fostering collaboration with the company business units.
Specialised skills set is required and the right mix of talent needs to be assembled.
Often the CV leader needs to be brought in from outside.
Being lean, agile with relevant governance, while ensuring consistent financing.
Other considerations in setting up a new CVC unit include: strategic Vs financial, fund size, compensation & remuneration, relationships with internal R&D, P&L constrain and more.
Implementing Corporate Venturing may take several years as it involves the gradual rollout of several programs while closely evaluating their strategic and financial outcomes. It often includes the engagement of external consultants and operators to help set up and connect with the startup and innovation ecosystem.
Getting external support
Those who have dabbled in CV know these challenges all too well. Outside support may be very beneficial for both the setup phase and the ongoing management of CV. At Techbench Capital we help corporates, setup and manage the different aspects of their Corporate Venturing activities. In particular, we help support the 4 main activities of Corporate Venture Capital (CVC), being: Strategy and scope definition, startups discovery, investments and portfolio management.
Eitan Bienstock, Techbench founder and CEO has been part of a number of Venture Capital funds in Israel, the US and Australia including Intel Capital, Artesian Capital and Propellor Capital. He also has supported, invested and raised funds for over a dozen startups including Change.org (funded by Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Jack Dorsey and Reid Hoffman) and Nova Measuring Instrument (NVMI). Eitan’s current personal investment portfolio includes Propeller Aero, Ingogo, Instcluster and A-Kin.