The focus of this chapter, and indeed of the book as a whole, is on corporate venture capital investment. In order to introduce this form of large firm-small firm collaboration, this chapter first attempts to define the CVC process, highlighting the distinctions between CVC and corporate venturing, terms which are often incorrectly used interchangeably. It then discusses the objectives and potential benefits of CVC, before identifying the levels of this activity world-wide. In the light of this discussion, the chapter concludes with a detailed research rationale followed by an account of the research aims, questions and methodology.
The term ‘Corporate Venturing’ is rather vague, tending to mean different things to different people
(Ormerod and Burns, 1988:80)
It was noted at the end of Chapter 1 that corporate venture capital investment is often known as corporate venturing. However, like so many other venture capital buzzwords, the real meaning of the term corporate venturing is hazy (Dawkins, 1986) because it has been used to describe a variety of somewhat different corporate activities (Block and MacMillan, 1993). Major definitional problems plague researchers seeking comparability across, and even within, corporate venturing studies (MacMillan, 1986), and failure to distinguish between the various possible corporate venturing modes can cause great confusion (Vesper, 1984). In an attempt to overcome this potential confusion, it is therefore important at the outset to recognise the range of activities described as corporate venturing and to outline the definition of corporate venture capital used in this study.