A new GCV webinar series hears experts from JetBlue, Merck, and the GCV Institute share tips of the trade for surviving, and thriving, in economic downturns.

Author: Institute Insights

Economic downturns are one of the most challenging and worrying environments for a corporate venture capital fund. History has shown that in the past, corporate leaders have looked at the CVC unit and seen it as something that they can afford to cut ties with. In other words, rarely has it been seen as a necessity for survival. But is that fair?

As part of a new webinar series launched by GCV entitled ‘’The Next Wave’’, we kicked off our first event by having Liz Arrington, founder of the GCV Institute, host a debate on ‘’The CVC Survival Game – Delivering Value in Downturns’’.

Liz was joined by Bill Taranto, president of Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Amy Burr, president of JetBlue Technology Ventures, both of whom are current GCV Institute Experts to evaluate the tools and strategies that CVCs can employ to survive. Better yet, the discussion also showed us how CVCs can go one better and continue to add value in the face of economic adversity. As a result, the panel shared six top tips that Maija Palmer, editor at GCV, assessed in detail here. We have also given you a snapshot of them below, but the ‘’six top tips’’ link is well worth a read.

  1. Creative funding
  2. Don’t just invest, work on innovation more broadly
  3. Invest in a business development function, early
  4. Avoid investing in one-offs
  5. Measure strategic value with things you can count
  6. Set up the CVC unit as an evergreen fund


So how do these link with the Institute?

Well, as some of you may know, the Institute has a 4-course curriculum that is designed to target CV team (VC and CVBD) professional development and promote effective engagement with both parent and external stakeholders. Each course explores a particular set of key CVC elements and learning objectives and all of the above top tips taken from the webinar can, in some way, shape or form be explored and analysed in greater detail in one of the courses.

For example, our flagship Landing the Value of Corporate Venturing course is a program that, among other things, covers pretty much all of the points. It certainly covers points two, three, four and five in detail. It is a program that addresses portfolio development and looks to develop the relationship between investor and startup into a long-term, mutually beneficial engagement. Points one and six can be covered by the CVC Investment Programs course and ‘’measuring strategic value with things you can count’’ is a feature looked at in both the CVC Investment Programs and our CVC Investment Basics

 As for our fourth and final course, Corporate Venture Parent Partneringwhen moderator, Liz Arrington, asked the speakers ‘’what is the right time in the evolution of a corporate venturing program to establish a business development or portfolio development capability and use it to engage the parent at multiple levels’’, Bill Taranto commented:

‘’I would have started it on day one. It was a 100% learning lesson for us.’’

As always, the full GCV curriculum, its features and its benefits can be explored further on the website here. Plus, if you’d like to watch the discussion – the first of GCV’s The Next Wave Series – then feel free to click here.

Interested in the wider GCV Institute Curriculum?

Take a look at our full course offerings below