SOURCE: Synchrony Venture Management

April 10, 2006 12:20 ET

Synchrony Venture Management to Manage Corporate Venture Capital Programs, Help Global 2000 Firms Tap Entrepreneurial Innovation

Edward Roberts, David Sarnoff Professor of Management of Technology at the MIT Sloan School and Founder/Chair of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, Joins Synchrony Venture Management as Chairman, Strategic Advisory Board.

BOSTON, MA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 10, 2006 -- Synchrony Venture Management announces services for Global 2000 firms seeking to make strategic corporate venture capital investments in early-stage companies.

With technology and markets evolving so quickly, innovation is becoming vital to a company's long-term viability. Corporate venture capital investments can be a powerful tool in the race to stay ahead of competition in developing both new products and new markets. Under the leadership of Managing Directors Adam Caper and Hans Vaule, Synchrony is targeting corporations up to $5 billion in revenue who need to make external investments to enhance their innovation capabilities. Caper and Vaule bring extensive experience in venture capital, private equity management and strategic management consulting to these new opportunities.

Historically, 'mid-tier' firms have been locked out of accessing innovation through venture capital. "They have limited resources, lack of expertise and geographic distance from the centers of venture capital investing," said Caper. "It's difficult for companies below $5 or $6 billion in revenue to attract the team, deal flow and co-investors required to sustain a well-functioning corporate venture capital investment program."

Synchrony provides those capabilities, and allows its clients to harness entrepreneurial innovation just as Fortune 500 companies have done since the mid-1980s.

Corporate venture capital has experienced a resurgence as companies have responded to the challenge of sustaining growth by attacking the "not invented here" syndrome with open innovation and external investment programs. Large technology and industrial firms have found that strategic investments in early-stage companies help them rapidly develop new products, gain access to new and disruptive technologies, and gain experience in evolving markets.

According to Caper, the partnerships that grow out of such direct investments allow a much deeper level of engagement between established firms and early-stage companies. "The experience, capabilities and resources of a corporate investor can greatly accelerate both development and market entry," he said. "For venture capital investors, the presence of a strategic corporate investor can greatly reduce risk and provide a path for exit."

Edward Roberts joins Synchrony Venture Management team

Synchrony also announced today that Professor Edward Roberts, David Sarnoff Professor of the Management of Technology at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and Founder and Chair of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, has joined the firm as Chairman of its Strategic Advisory Board. Among his many entrepreneurial activities are co-founding Meditech, Sohu.com (Beijing) and Zero Stage Capital.

"We're pleased to have attracted such a highly-regarded entrepreneurship and venture capital pioneer," Caper said. "Roberts' wealth of experience in identifying promising technologies and turning them into successful companies will help the mid-sized firms we work with."

Professor Roberts has authored over 160 articles and 11 books, the two latest being "Entrepreneurs in High Technology: Lessons from MIT and Beyond" (Oxford University Press, 1991) and "Innovation: Driving Product, Process and Market Change" (Jossey-Bass, 2002). He holds four degrees from MIT in electrical engineering (B.S. and M.S.) management (M.S.) and economics (Ph.D.).

Synchrony comes along at the right time for mid-sized firms

The increase in venture capital investment over the past decade has dramatically shifted the landscape for innovation in the United States.

Organizations such as Bell Labs and Xerox PARC once reliably churned out innovations that drove disruptive, quantum leaps in technology. However, in recent years such innovations have come from thousands of smaller, venture-backed firms that can quickly take a world-changing idea from concept to commercialization. According to Professor Roberts, this dynamic creates tremendous opportunities, but can also represent a threat for firms that lack the resources to participate actively in the process.

"Large companies such as IBM, Intel, Nokia and 3M are able to generate significant innovation internally or build internal staffs to search for, screen and invest in early-stage technological opportunities that emerge from high-tech startups. But the medium-sized company can't afford the money, time or staff to initiate exploratory projects outside of their core businesses," Roberts said. "These middle sized organizations are more likely to become victims of commoditization of their businesses because they haven't nurtured growth alternatives. Ironically, many larger companies are increasingly depending on their suppliers -- many of whom are mid-sized -- for new product and feature ideas, as well as for enhanced technological performance. There's a clear benefit to helping them keep their own innovation pipelines strong."

About Synchrony Venture Management

Synchrony Venture Management provides Global 2000 firms with the means to address the growing importance of private, venture-backed early-stage companies in the critical process of producing and commercializing innovation. Based in Boston, MA, Synchrony offers its clients an integrated multi-stage approach to corporate venture capital. Synchrony's Strategic Investment Program manages clients' programs to invest in the venture-capital-backed firms that represent the next generation of innovation in technology, markets or business models. The initial phase of the program includes a collaborative and rigorous assessment of clients' strategic objectives, and market and technology roadmaps for their future growth. Synchrony then crafts a program to capture those evolving opportunities through strategic investment, and leverages its experience, contacts and management capabilities to help both client and portfolio company create value through the relationship.

More information about Synchrony Venture Management can be found at www.synchronyvm.com.

Contact Information

  • For more information contact:
    Peg McGuire
    Synchrony Venture Management
    401.744.1468
    Email Contact