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Why Oracle doesn’t invest in start-ups anymore

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In a technology landscape increasingly dominated by companies that seem like they sprang up overnight, Oracle feels comparatively ancient.

The $US180 billion ($243 billion) enterprise software giant was founded all the way back in 1978 (OK, that makes it slightly younger than Apple, but I’m trying to make a point here) and since then it has navigated the ups and downs of a few cycles – the dotcom boom and bust, the global financial crisis, the shift from installed software to the cloud.

Given this long (by tech industry standards) history, its perspective on some of the biggest trends sweeping through the technology industry – namely the boom in valuations for unlisted start-ups and a resurgence in corporate venture investing – warrants inspection.

During the last boom at the turn of the millennium, Oracle was an enthusiastic participant in corporate venture capital, tipping as much as $500 million into a start-up investment fund. This time around, it is taking a very different approach.

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