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New service for corporate venturing

June saw the launch of a new service designed to promote corporate venturing in the UK. Corporate Venturing UK has been set up by the National Business Angels Network, an organisation supported by the Department of Trade and Industry and sponsored by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, and the London Stock Exchange. The aim of Corporate Venturing UK is to connect new and developing businesses with larger companies that are interested in forming mutually beneficial partnerships. It will provide a screening and introductory service.

Nick Cox, director of Corporate Venturing UK, said: “Corporate venturing has a key role to play in the rapid development and exploitation of new business ideas and technology. I am keen to encourage wider participation across British business and am looking forward to co-operating with all those involved.”

Cox says the main aim of Corporate Venturing UK is not to find funding for companies, although intermediaries in this field can also register with the company, but to establish productive partnerships. Independent expert advisers will help early stage companies identify areas they need assistance with and then put them in touch with corporates which can help. For example, companies might need help gaining access to markets, distribution channels, production facilities or expertise not otherwise available to them. Companies seeking help through the service will probably have already received seed investment but Cox hopes the involvement of a corporate partner will facilitate further venture capital fund raising.

Corporates are likely to be motivated by the strategic benefits of early access to new technologies and products, as well as the injection into their business of entrepreneurial spirit arising from exposure to start-up projects. Cox expects 50 per cent of the companies looking for corporate venturing opportunities of this type to have a turnover of between GBP50 million and GBP100 million that do not have the resources to scan the horizon for opportunities themselves.

Initial contact with the organisation should be made through its website, www.corporateventuringuk.org, which is operational from June 18.