Following Compass' Lead
Corporate venture investment programs like Guidant's Compass walk a thin line between traditional business development and traditional venture capital investing. Compass' goal is to help Guidant find new technology early that could eventually help one of Guidant's core business groups but still earn a return on investment in the event the technology ultimately proves of no value to the corporation.
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Several forces--rapid technological obsolescence, the impact of information technology on health care, merger integrations, and the need for double digit revenue growth--have caused increasing numbers of large pharmaceutical and medical device companies to create new corporate venture capital groups. But compared to traditional VC firms, whose only goal is to make money for limited partners, corporate VCs have a heavy agenda. They must choose portfolio companies while balancing often-competing goals of strategic benefit and financial return.
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