Purpose Prior literature indicates that syndication enhances the likelihood of ventures' successful exits; however, it has neglected the differences among venture capital (VC) investor types. In fact, there are various types of VC investors with distinctive objectives. Therefore, by focusing on ventures backed by corporate venture capital (CVC) and independent venture capital (IVC) investors, the purpose of this paper is to investigate how the relative influence among a heterogeneous group of VC investors in a syndicate affects the likelihood of the venture's successful exit. Design/methodology/approach A sample of 1,121 US ventures that received funding from both CVC and IVC investors during 2001 and 2013 are collected. Then, a Cox proportional hazards model is applied to analyze the likelihood of a successful exit (i.e. initial public offering or acquisition). Findings The relative reputation of CVC investors vis-a-vis their IVC co-investors in a syndicate is negatively associated with the likelihood of the venture's successful exit. This negative relationship is exacerbated when CVC investors are geographically close to the focal venture, and it is weakened when CVC investors syndicate with IVC investors that they have collaborated in the past. Originality/value First, this paper advances VC syndication literature by demonstrating that syndication does not positively affect the likelihood of a venture's successful exit unless key syndicate members seek to pursue going public or acquisition strategy. Second, this paper also reveals when CVC is beneficial from the ventures' perspective. CVC participation facilitates ventures' successful exits as long as reputable IVC investors are present in the syndicate. Third, this study contributes to the multiple agency perspective by showing that formal governance mechanisms affect ventures' conduct and performance as well as informal sources of power.