How do money men in some of the world’s biggest technology companies decide where to invest their considerable treasure piles? Mike Magee found out at the White Bull conference, 2012, Barcelona.
But the investment comes in mostly through product teams. According to Cornaz, the product teams get a clearer picture day-to-day of companies that are cropping up, which new companies are coming to light, and how. “We do some of our own analysis but it’s a bit harder for something to come out to stick,” Cornaz said. “In terms of process we spend quite a bit of time with the founders and our team inside”, to make sure they are excited about Doing No Evil at Google.
Though, he pointed out, the founders are “very much involved” with all M&A decisions.
Jason Ball, of Qualcomm Ventures, said that late stage companies, which are pulling in hefty revenues, tend to walk in through the front door, though this process can take six months to a year. “If we write a multimillion cheque, the top ranks of the company will be involved,” Ball said.
But, for the early stages, he admits he is on the hunt: making it known that Qualcomm is prepared to write a large cheque. “For normal seed programmes, two or three of us will decide and write a €200,000 cheque”.
At the moment, Qualcomm wants to sell more chipsets and is keeping both eyes open for businesses it can invest in to further that aim. Big on the agenda, as we wrote last year, is the internet of things, which the company believes will help it sell yet more chips.
For SAP Ventures’, the company’s Jorg Seivert said there is a range of elements to pick from, including within the company at SAP Labs. “For the most part, we look for opportunities like this event [White Bull] or connecting to other VPs that we’re friends with,” Seivert said. As for the investment committee, there are six partners on it, and the vote goes to four out of six.