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PitchBook Analyst Note: CVC's Sea Change: Tracking the Strategy's Shift

Q4 2020

PitchBook Analyst Note: CVC's Sea Change: Tracking the Strategy's Shift

December 9, 2020

PitchBook Analyst Note: CVC's Sea Change: Tracking the Strategy's Shift
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Corporate venture capital (CVC) represents a major part of the US VC ecosystem, but it wasn’t always that way. In the past, CVCs have held a reputation for pulling back from venture during periods of economic headwinds—including during the global financial crisis (GFC). Despite the pandemic, today’s CVCs have remained very active, participating in 25.8% of completed VC deals representing 51.5% of total deal value through Q3 2020, some of the highest figures we have tracked. The strategy shifted after the GFC as corporates sought new avenues for growth and diversification of their products, including moving up the venture lifecycle to invest more heavily at seed and adapting their investment approach to focus less strictly on strategic investments. This analyst note delves into this shift in corporate strategy over time, defining corporate VC before and after the GFC, examining unique CVC characteristics, and exploring how the foundation for today’s CVC strategy was laid after the GFC.