F500 Venture Capital


How common is it for a F500 to have a VC arm? I know next to nothing about the industry so this might be a stupid question but it seems as though, at least some, of the world's largest companies are starting to ramp up VC efforts. According to the article below, GM and BMW are both kick starting their respective venture capital divisions with investments in cleaner energy with BMW and GM both looking the way of electric cars.

How common is this? Is this going to become more and more prevalent as companies try to get in on the ground floor of new technology?


Comments (11)

Feb 24, 2011 - 10:06am

Yea I kinda figured that the tech companies were big in the space but how about other, more traditional lines of business? I mean evidently its not a common thing for big auto manufacturers. You said that Ford has a VC firm associated with it; how does that differ from firms that have their own VC arms as far as it effecting the business model, ownership rights to the firms that fund, etc.

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
Feb 24, 2011 - 10:32am

Happy, very common if not universal for F500. Nearly everybody in some way or another. Either they have a dedicated subsidiary, a portion of the business development team assigned to that kind of work or a separate fund where the F500 firm is the primary, if not sole, investor. The head of the fund we support for example is listed as a VP (important guy) in our internal address book but they have their own offices in Boston. I have no idea what the incentive structure is over there as their objective is to target companies we either eventually will acquire or are developing IP that we think would be useful. The entire shop is ex-monitor, parthenon, BCG consultants (post-mba stints). No idea who does the grunt work for them.

Feb 24, 2011 - 7:06pm

Siemens, Motorola, Deutsche telekom, Novartis, Dupont, Intel, Texas Instruments.
I wrote my grad thesis about it, as far as I know, at the moment not so many as you could think.
In most cases, as aggravate says, they perform tasks similar to CVC without an actual fund. In many cases, moreover, the structure of the funds is not similar to "classical" funds, where u have an amount of capital committed and a time-period to invest. Often when an investment opportunity arises, the board deliberates whether to invest or not. And how. It's not the inv managers that decide.

Ask more specific questions if u want, i''d be happy to help as far as I can.


Feb 24, 2011 - 8:58pm

Company im at now, F500 packing company, is going to start a VC in a few years or 2...so it is common

non-sequitor much? Because the F500 you're 'working' at now is 'starting one' (read: doesn't have one) its common?
If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford
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