The big news stories of last week highlighted on the Global Venturing Review podcast noted the ongoing flotation bonanza, massive early-stage deals, launches of multi-billion dollar corporate venturing programs and large trade sales.
There remains an incredible amount of cash sitting on corporate balance sheets – $22 trillion last time we looked – and the opportunities to disrupt whole sectors remain.
But while the headline venture news remains broadly similar to a world where the coronavirus-induced economic recession never happened, there are changes at corporate venturing units that indicate a repositioning for the next economic cycle.
Jon Lauckner’s retirement from General Motors’ corporate venturing unit is coinciding with David Gilmour’s from BP Ventures and another to come in mid-July, among other changes such as David Schulte’s promotion at McKesson Ventures after Tom Rodgers’ own promotion, and Kristin Aamodt, who is leaving Equinor Technology Ventures, which is being merged with a sister unit under Gareth Burns, to join venture firm ArcTern Ventures.
There are always risks at such times that substantial institutional knowledge and experience will be lost to corporate venture capital units as well as the broader industry.
Fortunately, the transitions are being handled over time and the broader risk of shuttered corporate VC units in entirety has yet to be seen as feared, although some have been effectively lost, such as at Simon Property Group following Natalie Hwang’s departure to set up a growth equity firm. Others caught by Covid-19 economic disruption have yet to formally declare actions, but while secondaries investors are licking their lips over potential asset sales at a deep discount, teams have been sheltered or effectively furloughed rather than shut.
We will know more following our analysis next month of the first-half data for 2020, and do contact Kaloyan to alert us on activity.