“A good idea faces so many obstacles en route to market today that it’s a wonder we have any innovative products at all. You know those baby sea turtles that get eaten by birds and crabs on their way from the nest to the water? It’s like that.” – HBR, Sept ’13.
Since then, we’ve improved the way we innovate, and drive growth – but, perhaps surprisingly, there is still an oversight in the business community about the true potential that Corporate Venturing offers larger organisations who are looking for their innovation opportunity. We’re not talking about the creation of the next flying saucer – we’re talking about a simple ability to free up resource and capacity to be able to adapt to creative opportunity and feel free enough to create.
And although Corporate Venturing offers a number of benefits functionally within an organisation, the biggest triumphant partnership internally is often experienced within the Research and Development functions – the core of a business that keeps the heart pumping, the blood flowing, and the product doing what it should be doing.
Introducing: R&D Corporate Venturing.
“Corporations have narrowed the focus of their R&D by pressing for clear, short-term wins; venture capitalists are too quick to get caught up in the latest, hottest thing; and even the vaunted crowdfunding option is pretty limited: It’s great if you’re an internet star, but try getting a crowd excited about an innovative idea in industrial machinery,” says Josh Lerner in an article about how Corporate Venturing allows for organisations to explore new territories.
“But it doesn’t have to be that way,” he adds.
Many organisations think it may suffice for their R&D teams to innovate by merely focussing on how to improve technologies that already exist. The truth is, it doesn’t.
Corporate venturing is a vital lifeline to fund startups – and removes the demand for immediate ROI that independent investors expect, and ‘glamorous popularity’ that cool projects attract, leaving the more experimental, research-based initiatives, underfunded.
Corporate venture funding within the R&D space means that your core R&D team can continue to focus on your products at hand, while, at the same time, giving you, and your teams, the space needed to explore new technology and algorithms that, if working as you expect, can easily be integrated into your core R&D focus. It allows your R&D focus to become agile, moving quicker (and often cheaper) too, keeping your core products integral – without the risk of major R&D investment loss due to pursuing a line of development that doesn’t quite deliver what you expect it to.
Unfortunately, in today’s economy, internal investment and M&A activity simply isn’t enough to drive enough growth for organisations to stay competitive. We’re seeing daily examples of forward-thinking organisations like Google and GE who are constantly demonstrating the benefits of corporate venturing to fuel their innovation engine. They’re investing in businesses who are steps ahead, who are experimenting with technology, who are agile and flexible, and who are natural additions to their core organisations of innovative growth.
If corporate venturing is something you’re interested in, and would like to explore further, as part of your innovation cycle – we’d love to hear from you. Our network of SMEs, business partners and investors puts us in a strong position to scout the talent you need, to add to your business. Get in touch today, and let’s get started.