An Overview of Corporate Venture Capital

By Robert A. Burgelman, Joseph N. Golden, Amit Sridharan
2019 | Case No. E692 | Length 18 pgs.
This note examines the corporate venture capital (CVC) industry, which has played an increasingly large role in the global innovation ecosystem, especially in Silicon Valley, over the last decade. The contents of the note include: a history of CVC beginning in the early 1960s; a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the industry in the late 2010s; a summary of the primary reasons why large corporations establish CVC arms; a framework for balancing strategic and financial value; profiles of three prominent CVC arms; a discussion of the challenges to realizing strategic value; and a process model to improve strategic collaboration.

Learning Objective

The main purpose of this note is to provide students with an overview of the corporate venture capital (CVC) industry. For students who have little or no background in CVC, the industry note will be a helpful primer. It will also allow students with a variety of experience levels to better understand the key conceptual issues that all CVC arms must wrestle with, most notably the dual pursuit of financial returns and strategic value. This context will enable students to not only locate individual CVCs within the contemporary industry, but also evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the many flavors of CVC implemented in the late 2010s by large corporations across a wide range of industries.
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