Venture Client Model: A systematic Literature Review


  • Lennard Haarmann Fraunhofer Institut for Mechatronics Systems Design
  • Fabian Machon Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design, Paderboarn, Germany
  • Martin Rabe Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design, Paderboarn, Germany
  • Laban Asmar Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design, Paderboarn, Germany
  • Roman Dumitrescu Fraunhofer Institute for Mechatronic Systems Design, Paderboarn, Germany



Venture Client Model, Start-up Supplier Program, Corporate Start-up Partnership, Corporate Venturing, Opne Innovation


Established companies are increasingly opening their innovation systems to stay ahead of the competition. In this context, collaboration with innovative and agile start-ups are gaining continuously more importance. In the past established companies often used common corporate venturing methods such as incubators, accelerators, or corporate venture capital for collaboration. Compared to these methods the venture client model is relatively new and was invented by BMW employees in 2014. Using the venture client model, established companies become early clients of the start-ups even it is still a venture to do so. Together they carry out a pilot project to develop a proof of concept and validate it under real conditions. If successful, they enter a long-term collaboration to integrate the start-up’s solution into products, processes, or business models of the established company. The aim of this paper is to sum up the current literature and set a foundation for future research on this topic. Therefore, we conduct a systematic literature review. As a result, we provide a definition of the venture client model, describe characteristics, present advantages from the perspective of established companies and start-ups. In addition, we summarize the state of research regarding strategy, process, and organizational structure and for the venture client model. In terms of strategy, future research should elaborate defining elements of a strategy as well as ways to integrate the venture client model into the corporate innovation-ecosystem. Focusing on the process additional research is needed on a venture client reference process and its integration into the corporate’s core processes. Referring to the organizational structure a reference architecture for a venture client unit as well as its positioning within the organization (e.g., innovation management or corporate strategy) should be further investigated.