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Management article
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Reference no. SMR4519
Published by: MIT Sloan School of Management
Published in: "MIT Sloan Management Review", 2003
Length: 10 pages

Abstract

During the late 1990s stock market boom, many large companies established corporate-venturing units, seeking to develop innovative new businesses and spur growth. However, with the downturn of the economy, many of these units ceased operations - while others managed to survive and a few even thrived. What went wrong with failing companies, and how do those that still have corporate-venturing units manage to succeed? The authors studied nearly 100 venturing units, proposing that failures often occurred because such groups lacked clarity - both in their objectives and in their business models. Using the example of successful venturing units, such as Intel Capital, Mustang Ventures at Siemens, Lucent New Venture Group and GE Equity, the authors outline four common types of venturing scenarios that, by using a careful, steady approach, companies can execute well: ecosystem venturing, innovation venturing, harvest venturing and private-equity venturing. They discuss the characteristics and benefits of each and how successful companies avoid the pitfalls that snare others. In the end, the authors conclude, there are many ways to do corporate venturing. But to succeed, companies must define their goals clearly and narrowly, understand the differences among the various types, and use the appropriate type for the appropriate activity. The ultimate key to accomplishing that, say the authors, lies in effectively employing the differences to their advantage. Andrew Campbell is director of Ashridge Strategic Management Centre and a visiting professor at Cass Business School, City University, London. Julian Birkinshaw is an associate professor at the London Business School and a senior fellow of the Advanced Institute of Management. Andy Morrison is a research associate at Ashridge Strategic Management Centre and Henley Management College. Robert van Basten Batenburg is a research associate at London Business School.

About

Abstract

During the late 1990s stock market boom, many large companies established corporate-venturing units, seeking to develop innovative new businesses and spur growth. However, with the downturn of the economy, many of these units ceased operations - while others managed to survive and a few even thrived. What went wrong with failing companies, and how do those that still have corporate-venturing units manage to succeed? The authors studied nearly 100 venturing units, proposing that failures often occurred because such groups lacked clarity - both in their objectives and in their business models. Using the example of successful venturing units, such as Intel Capital, Mustang Ventures at Siemens, Lucent New Venture Group and GE Equity, the authors outline four common types of venturing scenarios that, by using a careful, steady approach, companies can execute well: ecosystem venturing, innovation venturing, harvest venturing and private-equity venturing. They discuss the characteristics and benefits of each and how successful companies avoid the pitfalls that snare others. In the end, the authors conclude, there are many ways to do corporate venturing. But to succeed, companies must define their goals clearly and narrowly, understand the differences among the various types, and use the appropriate type for the appropriate activity. The ultimate key to accomplishing that, say the authors, lies in effectively employing the differences to their advantage. Andrew Campbell is director of Ashridge Strategic Management Centre and a visiting professor at Cass Business School, City University, London. Julian Birkinshaw is an associate professor at the London Business School and a senior fellow of the Advanced Institute of Management. Andy Morrison is a research associate at Ashridge Strategic Management Centre and Henley Management College. Robert van Basten Batenburg is a research associate at London Business School.

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