Dawn of a New Day for Corporate Venture Capital

By Christina Riboldi of Global Corporate Venturing

CVCs are becoming more important on the pathway to funding, as they invested in 25 percent of all venture deals in 2015.  This data proves that CVC is a critical component supporting the innovation ecosystem and the rise of the CVC was demonstrated by oversubscription of attendance at GCV’s Global Corporate Venturing & Innovation (GCVI) Summit this past January in Sonoma, CA.   Drawing over 450+ global CVC program managers, this event experienced record breaking registrant numbers compared to the historical conferences once presented in this space.

Corporate venture professionals from more than 250 corporations participated, all of which were broadly optimistic about how their industry plans to take an increasingly active role to support innovation and next-gen business leaders.   Corporate venture investment hit a 15-year high in 2015. In 2015, CVC groups deployed more than $7.5bn to the US startup ecosystem through collective participation in 905 deals, accounting for 13% of all venture capital dollars deployed and participating in 21% of all venture capital deals according to the PwC/National Venture Capital Association MoneyTree Report.

The pillars of CVC forging this shift were all featured as part of the GCVI Summit.  Sue Siegel of GE Ventures, Nagraj Kashyap of Microsoft Ventures, Quinn Li of Qualcomm Ventures, Debby Hopkins of Citi Ventures, Dominique Megret of Swisscom Ventures and Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital’s new President, all spoke to their long-term investment approaches and future innovation partnership strategies.   These industry leaders also directly commented on how they each recognize that they cannot innovate alone and that they will find many answers among the entrepreneurial innovation community.

Additionally, an international cross section of CVC practitioners and innovation thought leaders facilitated areas of content that directly drilled down on topics such as incubation, board member observer approaches, CVC program development strategies and portfolio company optimization.    Workshop session leaders featured include David Horowitz, Scott Lenet and Rich Flynn of Touchdown Ventures with Ian Goldstein of Drinker Biddle & Reath for the ‘CVC Development Workshop’ and Michael Docherty of Venture2 for an IoT Co-Lab Workshop.  For the GCVI Summit’s ‘Unpanels’, which were a series of breakout sessions led by skilled CVC professionals, attendees had an opportunity to pre-select topics that were led by experienced facilitators.

“Unpanel” leaders included Patty Burke of the Center for Creative Leadership and George Hoyem of In-Q-Tel for the ‘Incubation & Accelerators’ session, Reese Schroeder of Motorola Solutions Venture Capital for the ‘Surviving The ReOrg’ session, Lee Sessions of Intel Capital for the “Portfolio Company Optimization’ session, John Riggs of PwC and Jacqueline LeSage Krause of Munich Re / HSB Ventures for ‘Setting & Amending CVC Charters’, and Kevin Jacques of Intuit for “Managing Bureaucracy”.

To round out all areas of ‘venture’ perspectives, select Sand Hill Road venture firms were invited to share insight on how they intend to collaborate with CVCs going forward.  Most notably, Scott Sandell, General Partner of NEA, Jennifer Smith of Greylock, and Mark Bercow of Bessemer Venture Partners all took the stage to speak about their partnership models with CVCs.

Where does CVC go from here? There is no doubt this era marks as the tipping point for CVC.    Programs are participating throughout the funding spectrum from seed to IPO. More importantly, the CVC is being invited into the most elite of syndicates – and much earlier in the equation – and now the experienced entrepreneurs are seeking CVC partnerships to deliver strategic value.  Between performance tested managers leading the charge, jaw dropping data and the rise of corporates starting up programs, all eyes should be on CVC.

For those interested in being a part of the discussion, GCV is preparing the 6th Annual GCV Symposium taking place May 24-25, 2016 in London.  To learn more, visit www.GCVSymposium.com