Inderscience Publishers

Why corporate venture capital funds fail – evidence from the European energy industry

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Courtesy of Inderscience Publishers

Corporate venture capital (CVC) is an important concept for large firms to manage innovation. CVC has been pioneered by major companies in the information technology, telecommunications and pharmaceutical industries. In 1999-2001, many large energy companies had launched CVC funds. In the most recent past, however, many energy companies have discontinued their activities, leading to what might be called the 'sudden death syndrome' of CVC in this industry. Our qualitative research suggests that one factor that has played an important role in the failure of CVC funds, and has largely been overlooked in previous research, is parent firm organisational culture. We develop a conceptual model that explains the relationship between organisational culture and CVC fund survival, including the moderating roles of decision-making practices in organisations and parent firm skills in managing and measuring success. Our findings are based on 27 qualitative in-depth interviews with corporate and independent VCs in the energy industry.

Keywords: corporate venturing, innovation management, corporate venture capital, CVC funds, sustainable development, entrepreneurship, renewable energy, climate change, sustainability, energy companies, parent firms, organisational culture, Europe

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