Dell Sparks Innovation Movement with new $300 Million Dell Ventures Strategic Innovation Venture Fund

Corporate venturing is on the upswing. In fact, activity last quarter jumped to the highest level since the beginning of 2011.[1] And if current trends continue, 2013 could be the first non-bubble year since 1995 that corporate groups have provided more than an estimated 10 percent of total venture dollars.[2] 

Corporate venturing is on the rise because corporations, entrepreneurs and financial VCs are seeing the value corporate venture capital brings.  For startups, corporate investment opens the door to technical, market, and financial expertise of large corporations.  For large corporations, venture investing enables them to keep a close pulse on industry trends and accelerate corporate innovation – while generating financial returns.

Dell recognizes the value of venture investing, and sees it as a key tool in our innovation toolbox in addition to organic R&D and acquisitions. We re-launched our corporate investment arm – Dell Ventures –to enable  us to identify, fund and fuel visionary entrepreneurs and technologies that anticipate and address future IT needs relevant to our customers at an early stage . Last year, we announced the $60 million Fluid Data Storage Fund.  Since then, we’ve built out our team and investment processes, met with entrepreneurs and VCs throughout Silicon Valley, Boston and Israel, reviewed hundreds of companies and completed several investments.  Working together with our colleagues in the storage business in a true team effort, these activities have contributed to Dell’s storage innovation in a meaningful way.  We’ve gained knowledge, partners, and equity in some really exciting companies.

With that effort up and running, it’s time to expand and do more!

At Dell World, we announced a $300 million Strategic Innovation Venture Fund. Building on the success and lessons learned from our storage fund activities, we are expanding our investment beyond Storage to additional emerging technology areas, including cloud computing, big data, next generation data center, security and mobility.  These transformative technology areas are critical to Dell’s end to end solutions strategy.  Staying at the forefront of innovation in these areas and making the right moves will bring enormous value to Dell and more importantly, to our customers.  At Dell Ventures, our goal is to do just that, making good investments that generate compelling strategic and financial value.

The Dell Ventures model is to co-invest with venture capitalists and other strategic investors, acting as a board advisor and making the full breadth of Dell resources available to the portfolio company. These resources include technical and business counsel, as well as access to brand scale, OEM solutions, channel and go-to-market relationships. 

We are truly rooted in and passionate about entrepreneurial spirit – from our beginnings as a hardware startup created by an ambitious young founder in his college dorm room to a multi-billion-dollar, global technology solutions provider.  And we are taking this passion to support the entrepreneurs who are helping to shape the future of IT – and ultimately, equipping us to bring innovative, affordable and easy-to-manage technology solutions to our customers.

Prior to joining Dell to re-launch Dell Ventures, I spent over a decade in Silicon Valley as a partner in a global venture firm.  Having been involved in startups as both a financial and now a corporate investor, I have seen firsthand the value that corporate investors such as Dell can add.  As a newly private company accelerating our strategy of providing end-to-end solutions, Dell is at a unique point in our history and in the industry.  I am truly excited about the expanded opportunity we have at Dell Ventures to bring the power of Dell to more entrepreneurs and to be a resource to the community in the years ahead.


About the Author: Jim Lussier