Abstract

To enhance innovation effectiveness, many incumbent corporations make equity investments in young technological startups. Four out of five corporate investors syndicate at least some of their investments with other incumbents. While syndication practices may be beneficial to incumbent corporations, in this study we elaborate on the notion of information exchange paradox to demonstrate that syndication may be detrimental to corporate innovation. Using a unique data set of investment decisions of 163 corporations over four years, we show that for some corporations the losses of participating in syndicate networks may outweigh the gains. In particular, we demonstrate that syndication network centrality negatively moderates the ability of a corporation to benefit from its investments. We also show that the effect is particularly strong in highly concentrated industries but is virtually non-existent in industries with low concentration. This supports a contingency view of syndication and implies that benefiting from equity investments in startups is a non-trivial task for managers of incumbent corporations.

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