Calling all corporate leaders: An effective venture ecosystem is possible to realize tangible growth.

It turns competitive threats into opportunities.

Ask 50 CEOs to define an ecosystem, and you’ll get 50 different answers.

  • A simple sales channel
  • A marketing tool
  • Show of industry power and connections
  • A high school biology reference

Even executives that define a venture or startup ecosystem as demo days, hackathons, or field trips to Silicon Valley will admit they provide little tangible results to benefit the corporation.


Working side-by-side with CEOs for many years,  we’ve learned that “innovation” pet projects that fail all have three things in common.  They were vaguely defined, short-sighted, and were too short-lived.

An effective venture ecosystem is possible to realize tangible growth. It turns competitive threats into opportunities.

…But first, it must be understood, harnessed, and capitalized.

Through a scaled approach, combining capital and collaboration with dozens of ventures, your company will achieve profound results. And for entrepreneurs, they can now better test their assumptions and be introduced to alternative opportunities when they form partnerships with corporations.

Success reverberates. The mantra is “collaboration for collective success.”

Here’s how

Okay, so what exactly is a Venture Ecosystem?

It’s a network of interconnected corporations and startups engaging as a collaborative community to sustain and grow.

Before you build your Venture Ecosystem, define specific, actionable goals.  Think about…

  • Short- and long-term goals
  • Strategic priorities
  • Where is your industry now?
  • Where might it head in the next 2 years…3 years…? And how do you lead the way?
  • What are current threats; where might new ones emerge?

A bespoke ecosystem becomes a resounding platform of leadership for the corporation, the lynchpin in an interwoven set of relationships that fosters common interests, innovation, and revenue growth, and produces 5 key results.

  • New Market Insights
  • New Products and Services
  • New Business Models
  • New Markets
  • Organizational Change

Increase your odds of lasting success

The days of a few late-stage capital investments on a path to M&A are gone.  When you embrace an ecosystem mindset and support its execution with balance and intention, you get more chances to win and preserve your legacy.  Leading you to 20…40…100 years of staying power. 💪

New Market Insights

Ventures and innovations that have defined themselves in your industry are easy to track.  They are visible or even knocking on your door.

Keeping a pulse on these companies and technologies is not good enough to inspire new growth.

You must go deeper.

To build a robust ecosystem, widen your aperture, and look beyond typical channels, adjacent industries, and geographies. Engage with a broad spectrum of ventures and be curious.  Ask questions. Take an inquisitive look at how they tackle the market, Get out of your own way and look beyond your preconceived notions.

Ask yourself

  • What underlying technologies are needed to drive your company forward?
  • What ventures are out there leading the pack even if they aren’t focused on your specific industry?
  • What about startups outside your typical geographic viewpoint? Are the problems being solved in other parts of the world applicable and right for your future organization?
  • What about non-related industries?

New Products and Services

The venture landscape is full of nimble, agile companies tackling ideas you already have.  And they are doing it with more capital than you’ve allocated to your internal R&D activity.

Your R&D budget for the year is $50M?  Some ventures just secured $50M to invest in their tech, hire product engineers, and build an entire sales and marketing function.

Instead of looking at ventures as threats, see them as unique opportunities to get in on the ground floor.  Why not get involved with them early and have a hand in shaping their progress and future outcomes? Today’s ventures could be your products, services, or solutions of tomorrow.

Embrace a growth mindset and entrepreneurial spirit. Hedge your bets. Invest in and collaborate early.

Diving in early with a venture provides energy and inspiration you and your teams can’t get alone. In forming relationships with entrepreneurs, your corporation can infuse that energy into your innovation narrative and use your brand and market presence to accelerate new products.

New Business Models

Consumer behavior is changing so fast that it’ll give you whiplash – how consumers interact with brands, what motivates them to purchase the “next big thing,” and how external influences persuade and promote solutions.

The onset of the 2020 pandemic inspired one of the quickest Business Model revolutions we’ve ever experienced.

  • Nail salons offered eCommerce and at-home solutions
  • Groceries, cannabis, and takeout delivered to your door, with no human interaction
  • Monthly gelato subscriptions
  • Sophisticated social media influencer monetization
  • BOPIS (Buy online, pick up in-store)

The surge was swelling, under the surface, for many years.  And now it’s plunging. There is no going back. If you aren’t already thinking about new business models.  The next best time to start is now.

Ask yourself

  • How might I sell my product as a service?
  • How can our services be broken down into smaller bite-size opportunities?
  • How to get more involved in other stages of the Consumer Journey?
  • How might I offer a subscription?

Startups are probably ahead of you here.

Many offer the same thing you sell in new and innovative ways that appeal to new audiences.

Smart corporations recognize it’s not in their DNA to universally think this way. That’s ok.  Look outside your organization for the impetus. By engaging with ventures, learning from them, and understanding what their revenue models require, corporations can put themselves at the forefront of where we go next.

New Markets

There’s a superpower embedded into every Venture Ecosystem.  When you leverage your ecosystem to access new markets, you get to see around corners and future-proof your vision.

Tap into your ecosystem to see how unique consumer segments are behaving.  Or how your core consumers are changing over time.  Keep an eye on the next generation so you know how to best connect with them.  Use the learnings from young technologists to augment your research efforts.

Partnering with a venture, you diversify and extend your market reach, providing unique growth opportunities.

Organizational Change

Building your venture ecosystem will profoundly affect the organization, culturally and financially.

Without saying a word, the presence of a venture ecosystem shouts your innovation narrative loud and clear to your employees and shareholders.  “We’re innovating.  Building our bright future together. We’re here to stay!”

Instead of sitting idly, denying projections, or passively seeing what’s next, your company becomes an active voice in the conversations shaping your industry’s reality – leading at times and humbly following in others.

Over time collaboration with ventures will result in your team building better products more aligned with the company’s sustained growth.

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