Discussion paper

DP16159 Families in Corporate Venture Capital

Many works at the crossroads of entrepreneurship and finance have studied corporate venture capital (CVC)’s decision-making and performance. We explore a neglected aspect in this literature: the presence of families as dominant owners of CVCs’ parent organizations. Our data reveal that families are a key engine of corporate venturing activities: about one third of CVC deals in the US from 2000 to 2017 originated from family firms. Moreover, we find marked differences in the strategies and outcomes of family and non-family CVCs. Family CVCs syndicate more, join larger syndicates, and invest in ventures closer to the parent in terms of geography and industry - especially when the venture is informationally opaque and when the parent’s CEO is a family member. Family CVCs add more value to their portfolio companies, which exhibit a higher likelihood of successful exit, better post-IPO market performance, and more valuable patents after the IPO. Family CVCs are also better able than non-family CVCs to generate shareholder value for their parent companies. Finally, family CVCs invest more during a financial crisis. Collectively, our findings are consistent with the view that family control entails a mix of risk mitigation and long-term preferences beneficial for venturing activities.


Amore, M, S Murtinu and V Pelucco (2021), ‘DP16159 Families in Corporate Venture Capital‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 16159. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp16159