We investigate how governance structure and power influence alliance exploration strategy. Adopting a real options perspective and the agency view, we suggest that innovation strategies differ based on the firm's governance authority. We find that the motivations of corporate venture capitalist firms, venture capitalists, and firm founders may have an impact on the formation of exploratory alliances among adolescent firms. Using a sample of 122 adolescent firms, we examine the influence that governance structure has on the firm's alliance portfolio and innovation potential. While the influence of corporate venture capitalist firms alone do affect alliance formation strategy, corporate venture-backed firms with founders having high influence (knowledge or ownership in the firm) are more likely to form innovation-focused alliances. In contrast, venture capitalist-backed firms tend to avoid innovation-focused alliances, preferring more exploitive ones, even when founders have high influence within the firm.