Originated from American venture capital (VC) industry in the 19th century, corporate venture capital (CVC) plays an even more important role in the ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. Since 2011, with the continuous development and mature of Chinese CVC industry, more and more established companies are gradually involved in VC industry through equity participation and equity holding, setting up investment departments and new subsidiaries. When the macro economy and corporate financial situation have improved, established companies also gradually shift their attention from pursuing survival opportunity to strategic growth. CVC investment refers to an investment made by nonfinancial corporations in internal and external startups. It has both economic and strategic objectives. CVC unit is a distinct entity which derives from and is controlled by its parent company; meanwhile, it has the duty to find potential investment and technical opportunities for the parent companies. Compared with independent venture capital (IVC), CVC comes with the following four clear characteristics: first, the investors are non-financial companies or their CVC units; second, CVC not only focuses on financial returns, but also emphasizes long-term strategic returns; third, the incentive mechanism is conditioned by parent company’s compensation system; finally, corporate venture capital is ambidexter to new ventures. Prior studies explored CVC practice’s antecedents, process and consequences. Firstly, the previous scholars analyzed the antecedents of CVC such as industry attributes, parent company’s characteristics and CVC unit. Secondly, some scholars began to focus on the process of corporate venture capital investment, and analyzed their investment strategies and investment mechanism. Thirdly, the researches on the consequences of CVC showed a tendency of diversification from both theoretical perspectives and research conclusions: some scholars believe that CVC practice is beneficial for helping to consolidate short-term profits and obtain long-term strategic rewards for the parent companies, however, other scholars retorted that the multiple performance objectives of CVC are difficult to measure. Besides, excessive diversifications also weaken the core competitiveness of parent companies. In this paper, we propose that, on the one hand, the relationship between corporate venture capital and their parent firms is like a fish " living in the water”, and CVC brings stream " living water” for their parent companies and expands its boundary, making parent firms embedded into the social network of venture capital and new ventures. On the other hand, the relationship between CVC and new ventures is even more like " swimming with sharks”; for new ventures, CVC can use parent companies’ resources and industrial experience to help and nurture them, however, they also can intervene them directly by equity investment, and absorb their knowledge and technology. In a word, for new ventures, established companies are the best business partners, however, they also the most dangerous competitors. Existing literature presents the following characteristics and limitations: first, the research findings of CVC mainly spread around the United States and other developed countries. It shows significant concern about how to generalize this finding to other regions; second, although previous scholars studied the antecedents, consequences and process of corporate venture capital, the research framework of this area hasn’t yet been established and the research results are diversified; third, the CVC research in Chines started around 2000 year with a slow pace. Existing researches which only focus on CVC’s characteristics, motivation and value creation, need to be developed. With this background, current study reviews the corporate venture capital researches which are published in recent years, aiming at: (1) analyzing the characteristics of corporate venture capital, and their investment strategies and modes; (2) summarizing the antecedents, process and consequences of corporate venture capital, combing different research perspectives among them; (3) building the theoretical framework of CVC research and proposing the future research development. This research has important theoretical and practical significance, and at the same time, expands and deepens the research of strategic management, organizational theory and venture capital theory.
Corporate Venture Capital: “Living in the Water” or “Swimming with Sharks”? A Literature Review and Theoretical Framework
Foreign Economics & Management Vol. 40, Issue 02, pp. 3 - 17 (2018) DOI:10.16538/j.cnki.fem.2018.02.001
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Cite this article
Dong Jing, Xu Wanyu. Corporate Venture Capital: “Living in the Water” or “Swimming with Sharks”? A Literature Review and Theoretical Framework[J]. Foreign Economics & Management, 2018, 40(2): 3-17.