A Wall Street Journal story says Google may join other tech and media companies in launching a corporate venture capital operation. More on this on Dealscape, TheDeal.com and soon, on Tech Confidential.
If Google proceeds, it will be interesting to see what model it uses as it wrestles with the tensions inherent to corporate venturing. At one end of the spectrum is the approach favored by IBM which invests only rarely and instead works with VCs to try and get the companies they back to work within IBM’s technological orbit. At the other end is Intel Capital, which has made very large investments in developing technologies (WiMax, for example) it wants to succeed.
The Journal piece doesn’t go too deeply into the field, but as we explored in a big 2005 report that holds up pretty well, corporate venturing goes well beyond the infotech and media worlds, into chemicals, autos, pharma, biotech, consumer electronics and even retail. Best Buy has done some venture investing. Johnson & Johnson Development Co. is among the oldest of corporate venture operations, dating back to 1973.
The board of directors of the Strategic Venture Association includes executives from Panasonic Venture Group and Sony Electronics. The NVCA’s corporate venture group advisory board has members from United Parcel Service, Visa International and ChevronTexaco Corp.
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