When Are Sharks Dangerous? Timing of CVC Investments and Ventures’ Commercial Performance

38 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021

Date Written: December 8, 2020


The evidence on how corporate venture capital (CVC) investments affect investee ventures’ commercial performance is mixed. An examination of the timing of CVC investments can partially explain the effect’s variation. Previous studies showed that the timing of ventures’ resource acquisition is crucial for venture outcomes. However, these studies have overlooked the role of incumbents as a resource channel and the tradeoffs associated with timing. Building on resource dependence theory (RDT), we explore how the timing of CVC investments alters the power balance between investors and backed ventures, significantly influencing ventures’ commercial performance. We further examine how the timing of venture board seats obtained by CVC investors affects this relationship. Using a dataset of 294 Norwegian ventures active in knowledge-intensive industries from 2004 to 2015, we offer evidence for a differential effect of early- vs. late-stage CVC investments, showing that late-stage investments significantly increase commercial performance. We also find that associating a venture board seat with a CVC investment moderates this effect; ventures are associated with greater performance when late-stage investments come without board seats.

Keywords: corporate venture capital, investment timing, board members, resource acquisition, resource dependence theory, commercial performance

JEL Classification: M13, G24

Suggested Citation

Sabel, Christopher Albert and Di Lorenzo, Francesco, When Are Sharks Dangerous? Timing of CVC Investments and Ventures’ Commercial Performance (December 8, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3800117 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3800117

Christopher Albert Sabel (Contact Author)

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442

Francesco Di Lorenzo

Copenhagen Business School ( email )

Kilevej 14A
Frederiksberg C, Copenhagen DK - 2000

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