In nearly three years of existence, JetBlue Technology Ventures has put money into 20 startups, which are building everything from more localized weather prediction technology to artificially-intelligent assistants that can help small businesspeople manage their travel plans. “Our mission is to stay ahead of where JetBlue is now—thinking beyond the horizon, two, five, 10 years out—and how travel might change,” says Bonny Simi, President of the corporate venture capital group.
Tuoyo Louis has a very clear objective at Zaffre Investments, a corporate venture team that is part of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts: Finding healthcare startups that can solve a problem for someone in the insurance company’s ecosystem, whether that’s a patient, an employer, or an administrator sitting behind a doctor’s front desk. Louis explains how he works with business-side leaders inside Blue Cross Blue Shield to get pilot tests underway that leverage new technologies from the startups.
“I was trying to shove innovation down their throat,” says Edoardo Manitto of Groupe Galeries Lafayette, the 120-year old French retailer. “That, in my case, didn’t lead to anything very productive.” Here’s what he’s doing instead.
When J&J makes a new investment in a startup, “50 percent of the deal funding from J&J Innovation, and the business unit provides the other 50 percent,” explains Darren Snellgrove, Chief Financial Officer for J&J Innovation. “We have found that both sides having skin in the game, and a say in the decision making is an important component of success.” More insights inside…
Last November, five years after starting a corporate venture capital group, carmaker BMW announced that it would invest up to 500 million Euros over the next decade, across a broad swath of the tech landscape, from 3D printing to on-demand transportation to smart logistics. BMW also moved its US office from New York to Silicon Valley, and accelerated the decision-making process for making new investments. We spoke to Managing Director Ulrich Quay to understand what’s behind all of the changes.
Coca-Cola has shut down its Founders program, which sought to work with entrepreneurs and invest in startups that would benefit the beverage giant in some way. The initiative was launched in 2013, and since then has backed eight companies. One possible cause? A back-to-basics focus on the core business.
“One the biggest knocks against corporate venture capital initiatives is that they are often a by-product of a booming economy and a pet project of the CEO. They’re here today, gone tomorrow. This reputation, unfortunately, is grounded in some truth, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” writes corporate VC Kyle Fugere.
What’s the right approach for big companies that want to plug into the startup world? Invest? Acquire? Be a customer? Offer to house fledgling companies? Listen to a half-hour of audio and read highlights from a May 2015 session at the “Front End of Innovation” conference.
We worked with a group of 15 innovation executives recently to develop this list of “Innovation Approaches.” It endeavors to capture what innovation leaders are doing when they are setting strategy; trying to change company culture; building capabilities for cultivating and testing new ideas; or investing in promising startups.
Innovation Leader’s Q1 “Peer to Peer” report explores the ways that leading companies are tracking, investing in, and partnering with entrepreneurs and disruptive startups in their industries. The report includes examples and case studies from Time Warner, Constant Contact, GE Appliances, Google Ventures, and Qualcomm, among others.