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The Art of Being a Corporate Venture Capital

DIGITAL VENTURES August 25, 2017 1:15 PM


Becoming a Corporate Venture is not difficult, yet it is not easy. It requires both science and art skills when working with startups in order to deliver outcomes for the organization. This includes learning about innovation and new technologies as well as igniting new products for Thailand’s ecosystem. Today, we will share a Corporate Venture Capital point of view from Thai companies in various industries lead by Paul Polapat Arkkraapridi from Digital Ventures, Sompoat Chansomboon from DTAC Accelerate, Hiro Saijou from Yamaha Motors Ventures, Dr. John Millar from Ananda Development, and Tim Casio from Samsung NEXT, from the recent Techsauce Global Summit 2017.

CVC: Not only science but also art

In nurturing early stage startups or pre-seed, accelerators need to incorporate knowledge such as product market fit or market size. At the same time, the art of choosing the right team, communication, and getting to know the team, is also essential. Finding the right team requires both skills.

Paul mentions that as investors, the objective is not only money. Strategic planning must also be incorporated in order to achieve the goal. Ideas change, strategies develop, and business models alter endlessly until the best results are found. It is an artist who must paint and make adjustments before arriving at the best painting, this is the core principal for investors.

Quickly adapt to innovation

A challenge for CVC is that they need to exist beyond innovation and be able to keep up with the industry. Innovation constantly changes and financial matters move with it. CVC needs to adjust to this challenge. Some examples include:

  • Initiating a team dedicated only to innovation both within the organization and externally.

  • Seeking potential companies for ventures and investing in startups is a way to explore innovative ideas. Encouraging the company to learn new things from the startups will open doors to new business opportunities. However, the selected companies will need to fit in with the organization structure meaning that the CVC needs to finely select the most suitable organization.

The current CVC trend will help innovate new things

However, change of an organization can’t happen overnight, everything needs time. Digital Ventures is a good example, Paul mentioned that Digital Ventures faced changes in the financial industry and tackled it by dividing the organization. The bank suggested two options, restoring the old system or entirely changing to a new system. This meant choosing to help the organization from within or seek help elsewhere and disrupt the old system. If no one can change the technology, a new system must be created and the whole system must be modified.

“What CVC looked for last year has now changed. There are organizations who are building innovations internally or, like SCB, has separated into 2 units. Everyone is trying new models in the search for the best answer for Thailand’s business environment. We shall be seeing more of this in the next 18-24 months” Polapat Arkkraapridi, Managing Director, Corporate Venture Capital, Digital Ventures.

These are the fundamentals and art of being a Corporate Venture Capital which requires numerous skills as well as understanding. CVC must seek ways to tackle the situation and deliver innovation that best suits the organization. Find out more about the other sessions from our blogs such as When technologies can change the world, what happens to human? by Brett King, world-renowned futurist, and  The startup ecosystem around the world and where Thailand should be heading, another session by Paul.