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The Determinants of Corporate Venture Capital Success: Organizational Structure, Incentives, and Complementarities

In: Concentrated Corporate Ownership

  • Paul Gompers
  • Josh Lerner

We examine a sample of over thirty thousand transactions by corporate and other venture organizations. Corporate venture investments in entrepreneurial firms appear to be at least as successful (using such measures as the probability of the portfolio firm going public) as those backed by independent venture organizations, particularly when there is a strategic overlap between the corporate parent and the portfolio firm. While corporate vendue capitalists tend to invest at a premium to other firms, this premium appears to be no higher in investments with a strong strategic fit. Finally, corporate programs without a strong strategic focus appear to be much less stable, frequently ceasing operations after only a few investments, but strategically focused programs appear to be as stable as independent venture organizations. The evidence is consistent with the existence of complementarities that allow corporations to effectively select and add value to portfolio firms, but is somewhat at odds with suggestions that the structure of corporate venture funds limits their effectiveness.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Randall K. Morck, 2000. "Concentrated Corporate Ownership," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number morc00-1, October.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 9004.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:9004
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    1. Gompers, Paul A, 1995. " Optimal Investment, Monitoring, and the Staging of Venture Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1461-89, December.
    2. Chevalier, Judith & Ellison, Glenn, 1997. "Risk Taking by Mutual Funds as a Response to Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(6), pages 1167-1200, December.
    3. Brav, Alon & Gompers, Paul A, 1997. " Myth or Reality? The Long-Run Underperformance of Initial Public Offerings: Evidence from Venture and Nonventure Capital-Backed Companies," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(5), pages 1791-1821, December.
    4. Andrei Shleifer ad Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "The Limits of Arbitrage," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1725, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    5. Reinganum, Jennifer F., 1989. "The timing of innovation: Research, development, and diffusion," Handbook of Industrial Organization, in: R. Schmalensee & R. Willig (ed.), Handbook of Industrial Organization, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 849-908 Elsevier.
    6. Nash, John, 1950. "The Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 18(2), pages 155-162, April.
    7. Sykes, Hollister B., 1990. "Corporate venture capital: Strategies for success," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 37-47, January.
    8. Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Underinvestment and Incompetence as Responses to Radical Innovation: Evidence from the Photolithographic Alignment Equipment Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 248-270, Summer.
    9. Michael C. Jensen, 1994. "The Modern Industrial Revolution, Exit, And The Failure Of Internal Control Systems," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 6(4), pages 4-23.
    10. Cordell, Lawrence R & MacDonald, Gregor D & Wohar, Mark E, 1993. "Corporate Ownership and the Thrift Crisis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 719-56, October.
    11. Samuel Kortum & Josh Lerner, 1998. "Does Venture Capital Spur Innovation?," NBER Working Papers 6846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Block, Zenas & Ornati, Oscar A., 1987. "Compensating corporate venture managers," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 41-51.
    13. Susan Athey & Scott Stern, 1998. "An Empirical Framework for Testing Theories About Complimentarity in Organizational Design," NBER Working Papers 6600, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Siegel, Robin & Siegel, Eric & MacMillan, Ian C., 1988. "Corporate venture capitalists: Autonomy, obstacles, and performance," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 233-247.
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