Success Factors of Corporate Venturing

In this post, we will see what are the elements that made corporations thrive when venturing, based on our research of real cases like Telefónica, Fluidra or Celsa, just to name a few. These factors are important to consider all over the process of launching or reviewing a Corporate Venturing strategy, from its design to its implementation, as we have seen in our previous post: Tips to Launch a Corporate Venturing program.

Corporate Venturing Success factors

The first factor is that the firm’s top management should buy into the idea of making collaboration with startups an embedded part of the company’s strategy. This includes ensuring that this commitment is communicated downward effectively, creating the right organizational context, educating people about the benefits of innovation and the risks associated with sticking to the status quo, and training the people who are most directly involved.

Consensus built on a common purpose will help everybody pull in the same direction. If there is still only a minority that supports it, it is interesting to start off with a small-scale pilot program focused on a topic of widespread interest, iterate and then scale up. At the same time, venturing units must be granted freedom to work independently and take their own decisions, always in accordance with their goal and overall strategy.

Knowing where is the company heading to, why and how is critical. In other words, having a clear corporate innovation strategy with defined goals. The venturing strategy should be continuously evaluated, and establishing KPI’s for the venturing units will allow its measurement and performance analysis, just like any other business unit with which, by the way, should be able to interact fluently. The interaction with the rest of the business units should be a result of mutual trust and support, as well as with startups, with whom there should be a follow-up after the venturing tool or program is finished. Finally, a lack of resources should not be an obstacle.

The venturing strategy must be a gear with incentive structures that can maximize results and get startups rapidly through the cycle. Continuous testing of the strategy and approach that a company has adopted is necessary. Beyond a clear objective of what a company is trying to achieve internally and externally and how it plans to achieve this, there must be an unceasing comparison between the strategy, the results obtained and the environment of a corporation via screening with metrics to measure success.

For example, a common way is to incorporate entrepreneurship as a key performance indicator to measure the impact of the collaboration in such a way that the people involved within the company must prove they are reaching out to the startup community to gather new ideas or demonstrations of entrepreneurial behavior in the startups’ teams. Although this is something very basic, it is not that easy. Corporations do not usually learn where to find interesting entrepreneurs and how to contact them, so it is important to build a clear strategy.

Corporate Venturing post series:

  1. What is Corporate venturing?
  2. Why Corporations Need to Collaborate With Startups?
  3. Tips to Lauch a Corporate Venturing Program
  4. Success Factors of Corporate Venturing
  5. A Guide of Corporate Venturing: Tools, Descriptions and Features

This posts are based on:  Corporate Venturing: Achieving Profitable Growth Through Startups


About Julia Prats

Mª Julia Prats is Professor and head of department of Entrepreneurship, and holder of the Bertrán Foundation Chair of Entrepreneurship at IESE. She holds a DBA in business administration from Harvard University, an MBA from IESE Business School, and a degree in industrial engineering from the Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya.

About Pau Amigó

Pau is a Research Assistant at the Entrepreneurship Department where he focuses on projects related to entrepreneurship, professional service companies and profitable growth. He studied International Business at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra and has previously worked at Apple and Mango in the areas of sales and product management.

3 thoughts on “Success Factors of Corporate Venturing

  1. Great article! It would be nice to find corporate backers interested in my start up. As a small enterprise just having a great idea is definitely not enough and scaling a business takes dollars.

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