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Corporate Venturing Investments, 2012-2017

Updated: May 30, 2018

By Jeff Carlson


This is the first of hopefully many posts to cover various aspects of Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) investing. There are many interesting angles for analysis: CVC investment trends over time, CVC investor behaviors, and comparisons between CVC and institutional VC investing, to name just a few. I intend to select a key area of focus for each post.

This first post will look at the macro trends of CVC investing over the past several years: numbers of investments, total dollars invested with CVC participation, and sizes of these investments.


The source of information for all the analysis in this post comes from GCV Analytics which is available for use from Global Corporate Venturing.


There has been a considerable increase in the investment activity of CVCs in the past 6 years. In the chart below, you can see both the number (in blue) and dollar amounts of investments (in green) in which at least one CVC participated. This shows that the number of investments in which CVCs were involved more than doubled over the last six years, from 932 rounds in 2012 to 2463 in 2017.  Note that the number of investments increased significantly from 2013 to 2015 but has been quite consistent since then.


Number and Dollar of Investments with CVC Participation


Sourced by GCV Analytics

 

During that same period, the total dollars associated with these investments increased even more dramatically.  In 2012, nearly $17 billion was invested, whereas by 2017, this number grew to just over $111 billion – an increase by a factor of almost seven. Keep in mind that these investment amounts represent the total size of the rounds in which CVCs participated – it does not represent the amount invested solely by the CVCs themselves.

This trend demonstrates that both the number of investments and average dollars per investment increased dramatically over this span of 6 years. Although the number of investments plateaued from 2015 to 2017, the total dollars invested continued to grow 12% to 25% year-over-year.


Each year, slightly fewer than 20% of the investments involving CVCs have undisclosed round sizes so the dollars shown above do not include these unknown amounts and are probably understated by a similar amount. Excluding the investments in which the associated investment amount is not publicly available, the average size increased from $22.1m per investment to $54.2m, or an increase by a factor of 2.5.


Number and Dollar of Investments with CVC Participation


Sourced by GCV Anallytics

 

There are multiple factors that can explain the large increase in average investment size. It could be that more of the investments are being made in later stages (series D, E, and beyond), where the investment amounts are typically much larger. Another factor could be that the average amounts invested for each investment stage have increased significantly. I will investigate both possibilities in the next post.


I also made a comparison between 2012 and 2017 investments in terms of the distribution of money invested across the various deal sizes. In 2012, the top 1% of deals (in terms of amount invested) represented 15% of the total investments for that year. By 2017, the top 1% of investments represented over 30% of all dollars invested – more than doubling the portion of all investments attributable to the largest investments. Likewise, the top 5% of investments represented 35% and 59% of all dollars invested for 2012 and 2017, respectively.


This demonstrates that a much greater portion of investment dollars were concentrated in the large rounds in 2017 as compared to 2012 (as a percentage of yearly totals). In absolute numbers, the top 1% of deals in 2012 represented roughly $2.5 billion, whereas in 2017 this amount mushroomed to $33 billion – an increase by more than an order of magnitude!


Distribution of Dollars Invested by Deal Size



Clearly, much of the 2.5x increase in average round size is heavily driven by these new, large investments. Where are these investments being made, who is participating, and do they represent a larger portion of late-stage investments? I will attempt to answer the last question in my next post.


In future blog posts, I will also analyze where the largest increases in investments have been occurring, both geographically as well as by sector and subsector.

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