The Life Cycle of Corporate Venture Capital

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2016

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Graham, John R.

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Abstract

This paper establishes the life-cycle dynamics of Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) to explore the information acquisition role of CVC investment in the process of corporate innovation. I exploit an identification strategy that allows me to isolate exogenous shocks to a firm's ability to innovate. Using this strategy, I first find that the CVC life cycle typically begins following a period of deteriorated corporate innovation and increasingly valuable external information, lending support to the hypothesis that firms conduct CVC investment to acquire information and innovation knowledge from startups. Building on this analysis, I show that CVCs acquire information by investing in companies with similar technological focus but have a different knowledge base. Following CVC investment, parent firms internalize the newly acquired knowledge into internal R&D and external acquisition decisions. Human capital renewal, such as hiring inventors who can integrate new innovation knowledge, is integral in this step. The CVC life cycle lasts about four years, terminating as innovation in the parent firm rebounds. These findings shed new light on discussions about firm boundaries, managing innovation, and corporate information choices.

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Ma, Song (2016). The Life Cycle of Corporate Venture Capital. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/12823.

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