Corporate venture capital and the influence of dimensions of autonomy on financial portfolio performance

  • Isabell Gollmer (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Corporate venture capital investments (CVC) are an attractive external source for corporate innovation and a significant startup funding source. The number of active CVC units, that manage incumbent firms CVC activities, increased constantly during the last decade. CVC units increase financial performance of startups in terms of higher valuations and liquidation events by providing access to resources and capabilities that go beyond financial support. While all CVC units add value to their corporate parent and portfolio companies by similar mechanisms, their structures vary considerably. One structural aspect discussed in academic literature and managerial practice is the appropriate level of autonomy of CVC units relative to the corporate parents. While past research concludes that higher autonomy levels are the better choice, it also identifies several benefits related to lower autonomy. One dimension of autonomy is related to CVC unit organizational structure and is called structural autonomy. Some CVC units are separate subsidiary entities with high structural autonomy, while others are corporate business units with low structural autonomy. This work finds that structural autonomy of CVC units does not significantly influence the financial performance of CVC portfolio companies based on quantitative research. Moreover, it suggests a relationship between structural autonomy and other dimensions of autonomy based on qualitative research. Ultimately, this work identified nine autonomy-dependent mechanisms beneficial for financial portfolio performance. It found that the majority of these mechanisms is more applicable for high autonomy CVC units which supports academic findings of high autonomy positively influencing financial portfolio performance.
Date of Award28 Jun 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPeter Rajsingh (Supervisor)


  • Corporate venture capital
  • Venture capital
  • Investments
  • Innovation
  • Strategy
  • Autonomy


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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