Previous research has shown that different opportunity discovery modes are possible. We test whether (a) a particular discovery mode leads to the identification of valuable opportunities and whether (b) a discovery mode actually improves venture outcomes. Considering venture outcomes is a more reliable way of evaluating venture performance than solely considering whether it leads to the discovery of more or better venture ideas. It is conceivable that systematic search could lead to more proactive and informative information gathering than relying on innate skills or cognitive patterns. Such learning could be useful during the exploitation process. To our knowledge no other research has compared the potential effectiveness of discovery modes in combination with the mediating role of exploitation.