Search and Integration in External Venturing: An Inductive Examination of Corporate Venture Capital Units


Published: 22Jun2016

AuthorsBasu, S., Phelps, C.C.Kotha, S.

Publications: Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal 


How do external venturing units effectively achieve external knowledge search and integration of their initiatives with mainstream organizational units? We investigate this largely unexplored question through an inductive study of 17 corporate venture capital units. We document a set of five novel practices that influence the efficacy of a unit's external search and internal integration and identify how these practices complement a broader set of practices used by all units. We highlight the entrepreneurial nature of managing an external venturing unit, often to overcome unfavorable corporate contexts, a perspective that prior research has largely overlooked. Our findings provide unique insights into why some corporate investors are better at learning from external start-ups than others. Managerial summary: External venturing involves strategic partnerships by established firms with entrepreneurial ventures. Top management usually tasks autonomous units with searching for willing and potentially valuable partners. These units must integrate their activities with the operations of parent firms to elicit cooperation from important business units. To understand how external venturing units implement search and integration in combination, we study corporate venture capital (CVC) units, which form external partnerships through minority investments in start-ups. While all units adopted fundamental processes that are well established in the venture capital community, certain processes that are idiosyncratic to corporate investing helped units demonstrate superior performance in their strategic missions. These processes often required CVC unit managers to be entrepreneurial and politically savvy in building connections with relevant personnel in parent firms.

Read full article: Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, June 1, 2016