By Christina Riboldi, Global Corporate Venturing
Corporate venture capital continues to experience monumental growth, with more than 1,500 active units established. After several decades of peaks and troughs, corporate venturers are recognized as vital contributors to the innovation ecosystem. The days of being considered ‘dumb money’ are long behind and corporates have the attention and respect of the venture community as a whole. This was recently evidenced by the success of the GCV Symposium (www.GCVSymposium.com) that took place last month in London, which had more than 450 global corporate VC programs attending.
As George Ugras, Managing Director of IBM Ventures said, “This is now the era of ‘corporate venture 3.0’ and those in the audience could sense that the industry is on the verge of exponential development.”
Collectively, CVC unit heads from IBM, GE, Microsoft, Merck, Swisscom, Siemens and Johnson and Johnson all shared perspectives and offered best practices to develop winning investment strategies. Legacy honors extended included the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ to Reese Schroeder of Motorola Solutions Venture Capital and ‘Person of the Year’, which was given to Jeffrey Li of Tencent Investments.
As partners in advancing corporate venture 3.0,GCV and the NVCA have formed a partnership to present a new conference entitled SHIFT: Accelerating Corporate and Venture Partnerships. This event will be held in New York City in the Fall and will specifically underscore best practices on the part of corporates in serving as both syndicate partners and LPs. For more information about SHIFT, visit www.SHIFT-NYC.com
The time has come for CVCs to trek onward and upward. Many will proceed with being direct investors (Microsoft just announced that they will be devoted to early stage investing), with a new group of corporates filling the LP gap and serving as institutional investors (O-US corporates are eager to access U.S. venture funds).