CVC Development and Support Services

Because each client situation is different, we have designed our services to be delivered in distinct, differentiated modules. While each can be provided as a standalone service, we have found that there is a natural grouping of services concordant with the client’s lifecycle stage.

Use the tabs below to see which services align with your Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program’s current

Because each client situation is different, we have designed our services to be delivered in distinct, differentiated modules. While each can be provided as a standalone service, we have found that there is a natural grouping of services concordant with the client’s lifecycle stage.

Use the tabs below to see which services align with your Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program’s current lifecycle stage.

Inquiry

For firms which are in the process of considering a CVC program, there are three primary goals: fully understanding impact of a program were it to be undertaken; beginning the process of familiarizing internal stakeholders with the concept; and gauging the firm’s capacity to successfully engage with the innovation ecosystem. Synchrony accomplishes these goals with a set of tools designed to help our client confidently determine whether a CVC program is the appropriate investment of time and resources.

 

 

 

 




Strategic Investment Seminar

The Strategic Investment Seminar (SIS) is a hands-on workshop which introduces relevant internal stakeholders to the principles of Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) and familiarizes them with how companies are using strategic investment programs to foster innovation, advance strategic priorities and acquire competitive advantage-conferring capabilities.

The seminar consists of two parts:

The Strategic Investment Seminar (SIS) is a hands-on workshop which introduces relevant internal stakeholders to the principles of Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) and familiarizes them with how companies are using strategic investment programs to foster innovation, advance strategic priorities and acquire competitive advantage-conferring capabilities.

The seminar consists of two parts:

  1. A presentation and discussion centering on CVC and the unique issues around partnering with early-stage companies and their investors
  2. Breakout sessions in which participants discuss and propose specific areas for potential partnership with external innovators

Some of the topics covered include:

  • What is Corporate Venture Capital (CVC)? How does it differ from financial (non-strategic) venture capital, and from other outward-facing technology-acquisition initiatives?
  • How can CVC be used as a cost-effective way to acquire new, competitive advantage-conferring capabilities?
  • What is strategic value? How can the company ensure focus on things which are truly valuable and avoid wasting time and energy on those which are merely intriguing?
  • How does a CVC function interact with other critical operating functions such as R&D, product development, business development, M&A and joint-venturing?
  • What are the critical components and best practices of CVC?
  • What can we do to understand the risks and benefits prior to making a long-term commitment? How do we strike the right balance between the two?

What Kinds of Companies Would Benefit from the SIS?

The SIS is designed for firms which:

  • Are seeking more cost-effective ways to maintain technology leadership in quickly-changing markets
  • Recognize that there is significant development being done in the innovation ecosystem but aren’t sure how to leverage it
  • See their competitors and partners successfully interacting with entrepreneurial firms and are concerned that they’re being leapfrogged
  • Have made occasional venture capital investments ad hoc but do not have a formal program
  • Want to gauge the capacity of line managers to successfully engage with entrepreneurial firms
  • Have had an unsuccessful program in the past and would like to consider a fresh approach to the market

Who Should Attend?

The SIS is valuable exposure for corporate executives who have a hand in making investments to develop new products and capabilities. Participants can range from researchers and product developers up to and including C-Level executives who wish to understand how they can dramatically improve their competitive standing by leveraging external innovation. Examples of functional roles for inclusion in a SIS are: Innovation, R&D, Product Development, Engineering, Product Management, Strategy, Business Development, and M&A.

What Should We Expect for an Outcome?

Attendees of the SIS should walk away with solid understanding of how to successfully interact with the innovation ecosystem to acquire new capabilities, the do’s and don’ts of partnering with early-stage firms and their investors, how they can benefit in their role by embracing the CVC process, and how to leverage their skills and capabilities to attract external innovators.

Is there a deliverable?

Yes. Each SIS includes a full report on the technology and/or market areas which have been identified by internal managers




Opportunity Assessment

The purpose of the Opportunity Assessment is to determine whether a Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program represents a viable and sustainable option for a firm to acquire competitive advantage-conferring capabilities.

Working closely with a small group of internal stakeholders, Synchrony guides the process of identifying the scope and scale of a firm's potential CVC program -- the size of the playing field with respect to relevant technologies and emerging markets.

The purpose of the Opportunity Assessment is to determine whether a Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program represents a viable and sustainable option for a firm to acquire competitive advantage-conferring capabilities.

Working closely with a small group of internal stakeholders, Synchrony guides the process of identifying the scope and scale of a firm’s potential CVC program – the size of the playing field with respect to relevant technologies and emerging markets.

The Opportunity Assessment produces a concise analysis of the opportunity for the client to benefit by a CVC program, suitable for presentation to C-level executives and the Board of Directors. This analysis includes a go/no-go recommendation, fully supported by relevant data and thoughtful discussion of the most significant elements which the firm should consider in creating a going-forward strategy.

Because the Opportunity Analysis does not assume that the firm will decide to proceed with a program, emphasis is placed on efficiency and cost-effectiveness. If the Opportunity Assessment indicates that a CVC program is viable, deeper analysis takes place in the Strategy Development phase.

Elements of the deliverable are:

  • Characterization and high-level analysis of the early-stage technology market as it applies to the client’s strategic situation
  • Identification of relevant technology areas which would be appropriate for a program
  • A survey of external innovation activity in target spaces to:
    • Determine its scale and scope
    • Characterize potential sources of dealflow
  • Description of relevant technology trends and which are most likely to be driven by external innovation
  • A survey of the innovation ecosystem activities of competitors and other value-chain partipants

Decision-point: go/no-go on developing a corporate venture capital program
 




Strategy Development

In the Strategy Development phase we work with key client stakeholders to identify the specific areas of technology focus for the firm’s Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program and to determine how innovations in those areas will be employed to advance strategic priorities.

Activities include:

Determining which of the firm’s strategic priorities can best be advanced through innovation
Identifying relevant internal technology groups and business units (a/k/a ‘capabilities groups’) which can drive those priorities
Identifying which specific needs within those groups are most appropriate for interaction with external innovators (‘Gapportunities’)
Prioritizing 'Gapportunities' relative to external innovation activity

In the Strategy Development phase we work with key client stakeholders to identify the specific areas of technology focus for the firm’s Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program and to determine how innovations in those areas will be employed to advance strategic priorities.

Activities include:

  • Determining which of the firm’s strategic priorities can best be advanced through innovation
  • Identifying relevant internal technology groups and business units (a/k/a ‘capabilities groups’) which can drive those priorities
  • Identifying which specific needs within those groups are most appropriate for interaction with external innovators (‘Gapportunities’)
  • Prioritizing 'Gapportunities' relative to external innovation activity

Strategy Development is executed in close collaboration with internal groups such R&D, Product Development, Engineering, Technology Implementation, and Marketing. This structured process engages internal partners, and begins to familiarize them to the potential benefits to be gained from, and best practices for succeeding in working with, external innovators.

A Strategy Development project generates three major deliverables:

  • A set of TechBriefs™ which describe the state of each capabilities group with respect to innovation needs and opportunities.
  • A list of 'Gapportunities' which may be filled through partnership with portfolio companies
  • An articulated strategy for the CVC initiative focused on the concrete benefits of a CVC program and what the firm would have to do to be successful.
  • A range for the size of the fund

The ultimate goal of Strategy Development is to provide senior management decision-makers with all of the information they need to determine what the firm can accomplish as a CVC player, and the requisite best practices to be successful over the long term. With its completion, senior management will have a sufficiently clear picture of the relevance of the initiative to decide to commit to the effort and expense of forming the program.

Decision-point: go/no on launching a corporate venture capital program.




Program Design

In the Program Design phase we complete the work necessary to formalize and launch the client's Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program.

We start by using the Innovation Capital™ system to quantify the strategic value of the 'Gapportunities' identified in earlier work. This enables us to create a prioritized list of target technology spaces, which in turn forms the basis for a detailed blueprint for the initiative. This blueprint includes:

In the Program Design phase we complete the work necessary to formalize and launch the client’s Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program.

We start by using the Innovation Capital™ system to quantify the strategic value of the 'Gapportunities' identified in earlier work.  This enables us to create a prioritized list of target technology spaces, which in turn forms the basis for a detailed blueprint for the initiative. This blueprint includes:

  • The Gapportunity Index™ associated with the firm’s specific strategic priorities
  • Specific innovation 'spaces' in which to look for competitive advantage-conferring capabilities
  • Options for fund sizes, and the strategic goals associated with each option
  • Deal sourcing & dealflow generation strategy
  • Screening criteria and sROI / fROI thresholds for opportunities
  • Toolkit for partnering with portfolio companies
  • Governance structure and deal approval processes
  • CVC unit operating budget, performance goals & staffing model
  • A launch plan (including both internal and external communications strategy)
  • Reporting and oversight procedures

The goals of the Program Design phase are to:

  • Establish clear, well-understood targets for the program
  • Inspire confidence in critical sponsors and internal clients
  • Create a actionable plan for the CVC group
  • Establish the governance, budgets, success criteria, internal communications channels and feedback loops essential to making the program successful and sustainable



Program Audit

No matter how successful a Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program may be, it is not unusual for a management change, strategic repositioning, or series of deals gone bad to trigger a reassessment of the program's direction or efficacy.

Synchrony's Performance Audit applies the tools of Innovation Capital™ to reviewing the existing portfolio and helping clients refocus their efforts going forward. The tools used in the review vary from situation to situation and can include:

No matter how successful a Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) program may be, it is not unusual for a management change, strategic repositioning, or series of deals gone bad to trigger a reassessment of the program’s direction or efficacy.

Synchrony’s Performance Audit applies the tools of Innovation Capital™ to reviewing the existing portfolio and helping clients refocus their efforts going forward. The tools used in the review vary from situation to situation and can include:

  • TechBriefs™: In many cases the root cause of strategic disalignment is inadequate or inconsistent communication between CVC professionals and internal stakeholders. Synchrony’s TechBrief™ is a structured tool which connects the CVC group with internal stakeholders to identify specific, actionable areas in which external innovation can make a major difference.
  • Targeting Review:  Venture capital is a relationship-driven business, and it is not uncommon for a CVC group to become defined by the network it has developed rather than by the needs of the parent company. The Targeting Review takes a fresh look at dealflow and dealflow sources to ensure that all relevant opportunities are available to the firm.
  • Portfolio Review: Senior management will often initiate a review of the firm’s CVC activities by requesting an external review of the existing portfolio.The Innovation Capital™ system provides an excellent framework for determining the relevance of existing investments while simultaneously beginning to refocus the CVC group on a path to renewed relevance.
  • TiCR Implementation: Questions as to a CVC program’s relevance are almost always dogged by the subjectivity inherent in different perspectives and varying levels of familiarity with the firm’s specific innovation needs. Synchrony’s Total Innovation Capital Returns™ (TiCR) system identifies discreet 'Gapportunities' and quantifies their value relative to strategic priorities; this creates an objective standard for setting CVC targets and determining the value of specific deals.

The goal of the Performance Audit is to provide an objective, unbiased review of the program and to generate an actionable plan for how to bring its activities more closely in line with the strategic priorities and innovation needs of the enterprise. It delivers to CVC managers and key internal stakeholders an independent view of the best approach to responding to environmental change, and the best path to engender future success.