Facilitators are increasingly important in ‘corporate venturing’

The importance of enablers or facilitators at corporate venturing is booming. This is the case of universities and venture capital firms, according to the report Corporate Venturing Enables, prepared by IESE Business School together with Cardumen Capital and Acciona.

In this sense, the corporate venturing -collaboration between established companies and startups- is gaining more and more followers as a means of obtaining new ideas from external innovation. As you open the doors to innovation, you attract more players. Likewise, these facilitating organisms play a key role in the ecosystem. This can be seen in specific cases such as Amazon, which is associated with a private accelerator, Alibaba, which is associated with a university, and Henkel, which is associated with a venture capital company.

Who are the facilitators of the corporate venturing?

According to the study, there are six categories of enablers that are becoming more relevant in the innovations of emerging companies:

  1. The institutions of knowledge, including research centers, university departments and think tanks
  2. Impulse institutions, that is, private incubators and accelerators that support entrepreneurs by providing them with space, technological infrastructure and other types of help
  3. Investment institutions that finance startups, including business angels, venture capitalists (VCs), and private equity firms
  4. Public institutions, including public authorities and embassies
  5. Business institutions, including other large companies, including competitors, as well as chambers of commerce
  6. Institutions of services, that is, consulting companies that offer specialized support for innovation

One such example is German chemical and consumer goods giant Henkel, which has become a limited partner in Swiss venture capital fund Emerald Technology Ventures. For Henkel, the association has two objectives: to better anticipate market trends and to access more high-potential entrepreneurs.

In the words of Henkel’s Director of Corporate Venturing, Emerald is “An enormous value for us to find the most suitable startups”. And as a result of this collaboration, Henkel and Emerald have recently co-invested in an American startup with a new waterproof nano coating to protect electronic components.

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The report identifies the most relevant benefits of incorporating enablers into the innovation processes, according to the experts consulted. Topping the list is ‘independent and proprietary knowledge’ (in 32% of cases) due to rapidly evolving trends such as venture client as a service, fund of funds and excubators, combined with the complexity involved in understanding the startups related to emerging technologies.

The next advantage most mentioned by respondents is “access to the flow of opportunities for collaboration with startups” (in 26% of cases), an area that is increasingly critical as the providers that offer it have proliferated, in addition to it becomes increasingly difficult to identify opportunities before competitors.

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