Dayo Abinusawa

Growth Investment Matrix: A Framework Linking Corporate Venture Capital Investment with Business Growth Strategy

Cambridge University
PhD awarded 2018

In 2013, after a conversation with Dr Herman Hauser, Co-founder of Amadeus Capital and some members of his team, I learnt that the MTN Group, a large telecommunications firm, was a cornerstone investor in Amadeus Capital’s $75 million digital prosperity fund. MTN expected exposure to online and mobile applications, and services relevant to the needs of the emerging middle-class consumer. Its focus was to use investment to drive sustainable growth. However, months into investment commitment, project champions within MTN were keen to show their Board of Directors examples of how Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) investment had supported business growth. A literature review showed lack of theoretical and practical examples of CVC-Business growth strategy. With this consideration of a gap in knowledge, I decided on the research topic of examining how CVC can be linked with business growth strategy.

My PhD topic focused on understanding how CVC investment can be linked with business growth strategy. I derived a framework (Growth Investment Matrix) from literature review and six case studies of firms that had used CVC to innovate and grow their businesses (between 1968 and 2015). A simple mapping technique was used to identify linkages and interdependences between CVC objectives and portfolio management strategies for business growth. The Growth Investment Matrix that was developed can enable larger organisations apply CVC to support business growth by connecting with smaller firms through direct investment, acquisition and partnership.

My research provides a framework (i.e. Growth Investment Matrix) to support business growth through CVC. The Growth Investment Matrix provides the basis for configuring the linkages between CVC and business growth strategy, where they are deliberate or to align emergent strategy. Understanding the linkages between CVC and business growth can:

  • Enable firms understand how to set-up and/or refine a CVC program.
  • Enable firms access expertise of co-investment partners across industry boundaries.
  • Accelerate time to market, revenue generation, and reduce barriers to entry to new markets.
  • Present options that firms could consider in defining their growth strategy.
  • Support firms in market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification.

After completing my PhD in Engineering at the University of Cambridge, I joined the University of East London(UEL) as Deputy Director of the Centre for Innovation Management and Enterprise (CIME) and Senior Lecturer in Strategy and Innovation. I also completed my MBA studies at the University of Glasgow. I have been a former expert policy contributor to the UN on engineering, and advisor on business development to the Togolese government. Earlier in 2018, I established Awa Business School ( with colleagues from the London School of Economics and King’s College London.

As Deputy Director of the CIME at the UEL, using the framework from my PhD, I work with industrial, academic, and public-sector partners to develop practical solutions that address key organisational and societal challenges. I also play a strategic role at Awa Business School, which offers a range of business and management courses for individuals across the world who wish to develop skills and knowledge to address real-world problems. With the online and distance learning options, students are able to learn and study at their own pace, enabling them to work or pursue other goals at the same time.