At a seminar by UK-based law firm Taylor Wessing, John Bates, adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at the London Business School, said the fundamental reason companies wanted to promote internal and external corporate venturing was to add speed, innovation, flexibility and excitement to the larger business.

He said these strategic and operational reasons boiled down to accessing new distribution channels, products, lower market entry time or operating costs, or pre-empting competitive attack, as well as creating an ecosystem to help broaden and deepen the market for the parent’s products, especially in technology companies.

As Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of advertising company WPP Group, one of the most active media corporate venturing supporters, said: “Every chief executive wants the power of a global company with the heart and soul of an entrepreneurial company. Or as Louis Gerstner, former chief executive of IBM, pithily put it: “Who says elephants can’t dance?”…

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