As Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) programs mature and the parent company becomes more reliant upon partnerships with entrepreneurial firms as a means of developing new capabilities, it is not unusual for the firm to start to think about optimizing the performance of the unit. Sometimes a review is triggered by perceived deficits in performance, but it can also happen as the result of a management change, enterprise-wide strategic repositioning, or simple recognition that in a fast-moving, innovation-fueled marketplace it pays to occasionally stop and do a reality-check.
Given the lack of transparent benchmarking data and the fact that any two CVC programs are more different than they are similar, such assessment is deeply challenging, if not impossible, without an outside partner.
Synchrony works with performance-review clients to help them test assumptions, update strategies, review portfolios and, in some cases, reposition or re-launch the initiative. We understand that best practices are generally not obvious, particularly to senior management, and that having an outside partner is essential to sort through the confusion inherent in the scrum of day-to-day operations. Likewise, we believe that the perfect is the enemy of the good; it is critical to carefully balance tradeoffs given real-world constraints.
Because performance reviews are generally undertaken to address a particular set of perceptions among internal or (occasionally) external stakeholders, there is no standard process or set of deliverables; as the questions posed vary, so will the process of providing answers. It is also true that as often as not it is the perceptions themselves which need to be addressed – sometimes a CVC program can be perceived as underperforming when in fact it is the expectations that are off, or that internal opposition to proper resources has made it impossible for the group to perform to spec.
Synchrony brings the same level of rigor, objectivity and breadth of experience to helping active CVC units optimize as we do in helping new entrants develop their programs. All inquiries are treated as highly-confidential, and we’re always happy to provide discreet counsel as part of our commitment to providing support to our clients.
In addition, the Innovation Capital™ system creates a meaningful, evergreen feedback loop encompassing internal stakeholders, senior managers, external innovation ecosystem partners and portfolio company managers.