This week, National Venture Capital Association will host its annual VentureScape event in San Francisco. IBM is very excited to take part in the event, and in particular, in Office Hours, which links entrepreneurs from the across the U.S. and around the globe with VCs and other entrepreneurs to help build the next generation of game-changing companies. The theme this year is “Where Transformation Takes Shape” and it is a very timely topic given that corporations around the world are in the midst of transforming themselves and the role of the startup is front and center in that transformation.
Today, large companies are partnering with the startup community to help fuel innovation and to keep their finger on the pulse of new technology trends. Corporate venture capital and corporate innovation initiatives are becoming strategic “must-haves” at leading organizations now. According to Global Corporate Venturing, the number of corporations investing in venture capital has grown to more than 1100 corporate venture units around the globe.
For an entrepreneur, this is good news. First, it certainly means many more choices when it comes to raising funds. But beyond capital, there are many other significant benefits in partnering with corporations. Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to leverage their large, established customer base, credibility and brand, and deep expertise and network within an industry. Most corporate VCs will have a strategic nature to their interest, whether its furthering existing solutions, getting into new market opportunities, or expanding into new geographies. The reach and distribution that a partnership with some of these largest companies in the world could provide is certainly something to think about for the growth of any startup business.
If you will be at VentureSpace on Tuesday, May 6th, I hope you will join us as we continue this discussion at the VentureScape Workshop on Wednesday, May 6th, 2015.
Wendy Lung is a partner in IBM’s Venture Capital Group. Since 2000, IBM’s Venture Capital Group (VCG) has been dedicated to building strategic relationships with venture capital firms and their portfolio companies to create exciting new customer solutions and identify growth opportunities in new markets.