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What BMW’s corporate VC offers that regular investors can’t

  • In 2012, one of us – Gregor Gimmy, a California-based serial entrepreneur and former IDEO consultant – accepted a new role at BMW’s corporate R&D headquarters. Gimmy’s task was clear, but highly demanding: to reimagine the way BMW innovates with startups. The prevalent model of startup cooperation in recent years has been corporate venture capital and accelerators (CVC&As). Between 2012 and 2015, the number of global CVC deals almost doubled and their investments quadrupled to $29.1 billion. However all this corporate venturing doesn’t seem to be accomplishing strategic innovation goals. In recent years, many high-profile companies including Volkswagen, Yahoo, Turner/Warner Bros, and Coca-Cola have shuttered their VC arms or accelerators entirely. In fact, in 2011, BMW had also founded a corporate venture capital unit, called BMW iVentures, but it exclusively invested in service startups. His time in Silicon Valley had shown Gimmy that Corporate VCs and accelerators struggle to lure the best startups from private venture capitalists. Gimmy’s insight was that the key to improving corporate co-innovation is not for companies to compete more effectively with private venture capitalists or accelerators, but to focus on what they can offer to top startups that others cannot. Startups require three things to grow: capital, coaching, and clients. Private VCs and other professional investors can provide the first two. But only large corporates can offer the last one.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Gregor Gimmy, Dominik K. KanbachORCiD, Stephan Stubner, Andreas Konig, Albrecht Enders
Chairs and Professorships:Chair of Strategic Management and Digital Entrepreneurship
Parent Title (German):Harvard business review : HBR
Year of Completion:2017
Content Focus:Academic Audience
Rankings:AJG Ranking / 3
VHB Ranking / C
SJR Ranking / Q1
Licence (German):License LogoUrheberrechtlich geschützt