The following is an excerpt from 500’s latest report, Unlocking Corporate Venture Capital.

How has corporate venture capital changed?

In the decade since the Great Recession, we have seen digital upstarts – taking advantage of disruptive technologies from AI to IoT – reshape the economy and the corporate pecking order. 

Conventional wisdom dictated that incumbents should focus their innovation efforts on R&D and growing their cash cows while investing in a few startups. But the rate of change has accelerated and with it, the balance of internal versus external investment. We believe the new corporate landscape calls for new strategies.

As one of the most active, early-stage investors in the world¹, 500 Startups has a unique perspective on the innovation economy. 

Since 2010, we’ve invested in over 2,200 startups through our funds. Through our ecosystem building initiatives, my team and I have educated more than 500 venture investors, including corporate venture capital (CVC) units. We’ve also advised leaders of some of the largest companies exploring this challenging environment on the creation and development of their corporate venture investing programs and funds.

We anticipate that corporates have an increasingly outsized role to play in the startup ecosystem, and our conversations with C-Suite executives have revealed the extent of the challenges they face while also highlighting new opportunities for growth.

This report is the result of an extensive survey we conducted on corporate venture capital units. We surveyed over a hundred practitioners on the changing role of the corporate venture investor. Today, we’re excited to share the story behind that transformation. 

We thank those that were able to participate in this report and look forward to continuing this conversation and driving our industry forward. We hope our 2019 CVC Report guides your innovation journey. 

Bedy Yang
Managing Partner

¹Based on Pitchbook analysis as of June 27, 2018, of all equity investments made into privately held companies from 2013 to 2017, excluding governmental organizations.