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what is corporate venture building, and why is it important for a startup


It’s exciting to start your own business. You have big dreams, an innovative idea, and a desire to change the world. But let’s be honest: the journey isn’t always sunny and rainbows.

According to a recent report by CB Insights, over 70% of startups fail within the first 10 years. Funding constraints, fierce competition, and navigating the ever-changing market can turn that thrill into a white-knuckle ride. 

But what if there was a way to level the playing field? Enter corporate venture building, a potent weapon in your startup arsenal.

Forget battling alone. In this approach, you join forces with an established corporation who provides the resources, expertise, and market reach you need to take your startup to the next level. It’s like having a seasoned sherpa guide you through the treacherous startup Himalayas.

Here’s how corporate venture building can propel your startup to success:

  • Funding firepower: Say goodbye to endless fundraising pitches. Corporate partners bring robust financial backing, giving your idea the fuel it needs to grow.
  • Market muscle: No more knocking on closed doors. Corporations have established customer bases and distribution channels, giving you instant access to a hungry audience.
  • Experience edge: Forget reinventing the wheel. Corporations offer a wealth of industry knowledge and operational expertise, helping you avoid costly mistakes and accelerate your growth.
  • Talent magnet: Attract top talent with the stability and resources of a larger organization, while still enjoying the autonomy and excitement of a startup environment.

This win-win partnership isn’t just good for you; it’s good for corporations too. They tap into your fresh ideas and agility, keeping them ahead of the curve in an ever-evolving market.

Want to learn more? This blog will delve deeper into the world of corporate venture building, exploring its different models, success stories, and how to find the perfect partner for your startup. So buckle up, because we’re about to take a thrilling ride through the future of innovation!

Remember: 70% of startups fail. Don’t become a statistic. Explore corporate venture building and let’s rewrite your startup story, together.

What is Corporate Venture Building?

Corporate venture building

Corporate venture building is a form of partnership between a startup and an established corporation where, rather than just providing funding or making an acquisition, the two join forces to build and launch an entirely new business. The corporation provides significant resources, expertise, distribution channels, and other assets to empower the startup founders to develop and scale their innovative idea.

This differs from traditional corporate venturing, where corporations take a more passive role by making financial investments in startups or acquiring them outright. With corporate venture building, the corporation is actively involved in creating the new startup from scratch alongside the founding team. The goal is to combine the agility and disruptive thinking of startup founders with the scale and commercial power of a large company.

By working together in this way, corporate venture building aims to develop new businesses faster and maximize their chances of breaking through in competitive markets. The corporation benefits by gaining first-hand access to emerging technologies, while startup founders benefit from the corporation’s real-world experience and networks. When designed effectively, it can be a true win-win partnership.

Think of some epic examples:

  • Google Ventures teamed up with Nest to create the smart thermostat that revolutionized home automation.
  • BMW partnered with DriveNow to launch a car-sharing service that redefined urban mobility.
  • Siemens joined forces with Enlighted to build intelligent buildings that save energy and boost efficiency.

These are just a glimpse of the magic that unfolds when startups and corporations join forces

So, why is this game-changer important for your startup?

  • Accelerated growth: Corporations provide startups with the resources to rapidly scale at a pace not possible on their own. This includes capital, distribution, manufacturing, and other assets to expand quickly.
  • Market access: Corporations have established customer bases, sales channels, and industry relationships. This unlocks new markets and growth opportunities for startups.
  • Specialized expertise: Corporations have deep functional knowledge in areas like operations, marketing, product development, and talent management. Startups can leverage this expertise.
  • Risk reduction: The involvement of an established corporation de-risks some aspects of building a new venture by providing stability and support. This increases odds of success.
  • Synergies: Combining corporate scale and startup agility unlocks new innovations and offerings. Partnering creates unique synergies neither could produce independently.

The core message is that corporate venture building enables startups to grow bigger, faster while corporations gain new innovations – it’s a collaborative formula for entrepreneurial success.

What are the Components of Corporate Venture Building?

Have you ever dreamt of your startup receiving a magic boost? Well, hold onto your ideas because that “boost” might just come from corporate venture building, a game-changer for ambitious ventures like yours.

But what exactly is corporate venture building, and why should you care? In simple terms, it’s when established companies actively create and nurture new businesses within their own structures. Think of it as a helping hand from a seasoned giant, guiding you through the startup maze.

Now, it’s not just about throwing money at you. Investment from a corporate venture builder goes beyond capital. It’s a holistic package that includes:

  • Mentorship programs: Imagine having seasoned veterans in your corner, sharing their wisdom and experience. Corporate venture builders often connect you with experts who’ve been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt (metaphorically speaking, of course!).
  • Network access: Picture doors opening to a world of possibilities. Through their extensive networks, corporate venture builders can introduce you to potential partners, investors, and customers, giving your startup a much-needed launchpad.
  • Strategic guidance: Feeling lost in the business jungle? Corporate venture builders act as your compass, providing crucial strategic advice and helping you navigate the ever-changing market landscape.
  • Infrastructure support: Need office space, cutting-edge tech, or legal expertise? You guessed it! Corporate venture builders often have the resources to take care of these logistical burdens, freeing you to focus on what matters most – your game-changing idea.
  • Think of it this way: instead of going it alone, you’re teaming up with a powerhouse partner who not only believes in your vision but also actively helps you achieve it. It’s like having a built-in support system, propelling you towards success.

Recent data backs up this win-win scenario. A study by McKinsey & Company found that companies implementing corporate venture building strategies grew at rates exceeding their industry averages. That’s not just a statistic; it’s a testament to the effectiveness of this collaborative approach.

So, if you’re a startup brimming with potential, keep your eyes peeled for corporate venture builders who share your passion and vision. This partnership could be the missing piece that catapults your venture to the next level.

What makes Venture Building Different?

corporate venture building different
  • Focus on entirely new ventures: Unlike other corporate innovation approaches that work with existing businesses, corporate venture building is all about creating entirely new ventures from scratch. This means starting with a blank slate, building a new brand, team, and even a separate revenue stream and profit-and-loss structure. Think of it as launching a whole new startup within the larger corporation.
  • Targeting beyond core business: These new ventures aren’t just extensions of the core business. They’re often focused on areas outside the company’s traditional expertise, allowing them to explore new markets and opportunities. This brings in fresh perspectives and helps the corporation stay ahead of the curve.
  • Combining startup agility with corporate muscle: Corporate venture building bridges the gap between the fast-paced world of startups and the stability and resources of a large corporation. Startups get the benefit of the corporation’s resources, network, and guidance, while the corporation can tap into the startup’s agility and innovative spirit.
  • Active involvement from the corporate parent: Corporate venture builders don’t just provide funding and walk away. They’re actively involved in the development of the new venture, offering support with product development, customer acquisition, team building, and more. This hands-on approach helps increase the chances of success for the new venture.

Why Corporate Venture Building is Important for Startups?

Corporate venture building refers to established companies creating new startups within their organizations. Instead of just investing in external startups, large companies are incubating ventures in-house to pursue innovative ideas and technologies.

For startups, partnering with corporate venture builders offers many benefits:

  • Access to Resources

Corporate venture builders provide startups with access to expertise, talent, technology, and capital from the parent company. Leveraging these resources can help accelerate a startup’s growth and success. Established corporations have the financial resources and scale to help early-stage ventures test ideas and get to market faster.

  • Mentorship and Expertise

Venture building helps connect startups with veteran leaders who offer industry-specific knowledge and insight. Working with corporate mentors helps startups navigate common challenges and avoid pitfalls. The experience and networks brought by corporate partners are invaluable for startup scaling.

  • Validation and Credibility

The backing of a respected corporate entity lends credibility and validation to a young startup. This can improve consumer and investor confidence in the venture. Partnership with an established brand provides a “stamp of approval” that boosts startup reputation.

  • Market Access

Corporate venture builders open doors for startups to leverage existing customer bases and distribution channels. Connecting with a corporation’s networks and partners allows ventures to penetrate markets more effectively. Startups can gain exposure and traction quickly by tapping into their corporate partner’s resources.

In summary, corporate venture building helps promising startups access resources, expertise, credibility and market opportunities through collaboration with established companies. The funding, mentorship and acceleration provided by corporate partners can be instrumental to early-stage startup success.

Benefits of Venture Building for Startups:

Corporate venture building is when large, established companies create new startups within their organizations to pursue innovative ideas and technologies. Rather than just investing in external startups, corporations are incubating ventures in-house to tap into emerging opportunities.

Partnering with corporate venture builders offers many advantages for early-stage startups:

Funding and Resources

Startups gain access to capital, infrastructure, and expertise from the parent corporation. Large companies provide financial resources to test and validate ideas faster. They also share technical skills, IP, and R&D support.

Market Access and Validation

Leveraging the customer base and brand recognition of an established company helps startups gain traction and credibility quickly. Affiliation with a corporate brand validates and promotes startups’ businesses.

Faster Growth and Scalability

With the scale, networks and resources of a large corporate partner, startups can rapidly expand into new markets and scale their business. Corporate accelerators increase startups’ employees and revenues.

Reduced Risk and Uncertainty
Mentorship from experienced corporate professionals assists startups in navigating common challenges like hiring, product development, fundraising etc. Their guidance reduces risk and uncertainty.

Talent Acquisition

The backing of a respected corporation helps startups attract and retain top talent. Employees prefer working at startups with corporate backing due to the stability offered.

In summary, corporate venture building provides startups with funding, expertise, market reach and talent. Resources and support from established corporate partners give startups a greater chance of successful, sustainable growth.

How Startups Can Leverage Corporate Venture Building

If you are a startup looking to partner with a corporate venture builder, here are some tips:

  • Identify Relevant Partners: Thoroughly research corporations in your industry or with strategic alignment to your business. Look for companies whose resources and expertise can complement your strengths.
  • Present a Compelling Value Proposition: Be ready to clearly communicate how your startup can help the corporation extend their capabilities and meet their business goals. Highlight the unique value you offer.
  • Build Relationships: Use your network and events to connect with key corporate decision-makers. Nurture these relationships by regularly sharing valuable insights about your space.
  • Negotiate a Win-Win Deal: Before formalizing any partnership, ensure the terms offer clear mutual benefits and expectations. Negotiate to protect your startup’s interests while providing value to the corporate partner.
  • Define Governance Structure: Establish governance models and operating processes upfront to enable smooth collaboration. Outline decision-making authority, IP protection, resource allocation, etc.
  • Leverage Corporate Resources: Once partnered, fully utilize the capital, mentors, facilities, networks and other assets provided by the corporate venture builder.

Strategically leveraging corporate venture building can significantly boost a startup’s growth potential and success. Aligning with the right corporate partner on fair, win-win terms is key.

Case Studies

1. Pfizer & BioNTech (COVID-19 Vaccine Development):

Challenge: Rapidly develop and manufacture a vaccine against a novel, fast-spreading virus.

Solution: BioNTech, a startup with expertise in mRNA technology, partnered with Pfizer, a pharmaceutical giant with robust manufacturing capabilities. Together, they combined their strengths to expedite research, clinical trials, and production.

Impact: The partnership led to the development of the first widely available COVID-19 vaccine within a year, saving millions of lives and preventing severe illness globally. BioNTech’s market capitalization skyrocketed to €56.6 billion, and Pfizer saw significant revenue growth.

2. Toyota & Aurora (Self-Driving Cars):

Challenge: Advance self-driving car technology and accelerate commercialization.

Solution: Toyota, a leader in the traditional automotive industry, teamed up with Aurora, a self-driving technology startup. This collaboration combined Toyota’s engineering expertise with Aurora’s software and sensor technology.

Impact: The partnership resulted in the launch of the world’s first self-driving taxi service in specific test zones. While still in its early stages, it positions both companies at the forefront of self-driving technology, potentially disrupting the future of transportation.

3. Unilever & The Foundry (Sustainable Innovation):

Challenge: Develop and implement sustainable solutions within a large, established corporation.

Solution: Unilever, a consumer goods giant, created The Foundry, a platform for collaborating with startups focused on sustainability. This venture building program provided startups with resources, mentorship, and access to Unilever’s markets.

Impact: The Foundry has facilitated the development and launch of several sustainable products, like Breeze’s eco-friendly laundry detergent and Hellmann’s mayonnaise in recycled packaging. These innovations have contributed to Unilever’s sustainability goals and brand image.

4. Nike & Techstars (Accelerating Innovation):

Challenge: Identify and incubate promising sports technology startups.

Solution: Nike partnered with Techstars, a global accelerator network, to launch a program dedicated to sports innovation. This venture building initiative provided startups with mentorship, funding, and access to Nike’s facilities and expertise.

Impact: The partnership has helped launch successful startups like WHOOP (fitness tracker) and Stratta (AI-powered running coach). Nike has benefited from faster access to cutting-edge technologies and insights, while startups gained valuable support and market validation.

These cases showcase how venture building through strong startup-corporate partnerships can foster innovation, accelerate growth, and address key challenges across diverse industries. By combining their unique strengths, these collaborations can create win-win situations for both parties and contribute to a more innovative and sustainable future.


In summary, partnering with corporate venture builders can provide transformative growth for startups through collaboration with industry leaders.

By leveraging the expertise, markets, resources and funding from established companies, early-stage ventures can validate ideas faster with less risk and greater speed. The real-world insights and acceleration offered by corporate partners are invaluable for startup success.

Corporate venture building enables startups to amplify strengths by tapping into corporate assets and relationships. This win-win partnership helps both entities capitalize on emerging trends and achieve strategic goals.

For any high-potential startup seeking rapid growth and credibility, exploring corporate venture building comes highly recommended. The guidance and resources provided by an experienced corporate partner can fast-track progress tremendously.

Aligning with the right corporation and structuring mutually beneficial partnerships allows startups to access the full advantages of this collaborative innovation model. Corporate venture building has the potential to transform promising ventures into thriving industry leaders.

If you are a startup looking to accelerate growth through corporate venture building, get in touch with Innovations venture studio. As an active venture builder, we provide funding, mentoring and access to global markets. Our corporate backing validates your venture while facilitating rapid expansion. Contact us today to explore how we can partner for transformative growth.

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