The rapid explosion of data, demands of evolving workforces, the rise of cloud computing, virtualization, memory based storage systems and other emerging technologies have caused an unprecedented appetite for new innovations. Dell Ventures, our company’s investment arm, is focused on identifying, funding and fueling the “next big thing;” visionary technologies that anticipate and address the needs of the future.
A strategic complement to Dell’s M&A, R&D and partnerships, Dell Ventures adds another avenue of innovation and tremendous potential for profitable growth. Dell Ventures is focusing on early to growth stage investing in areas strategic to our business— storage, servers, networking, cloud computing and virtualization, analytics/BI/Big Data, mobility, end- user computing, services and software.
While on stage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech conference today, Michael Dell announced a $60M early stage investment fund, the Dell Fluid Data Storage Fund. We have set our sights on investing in five to ten promising storage startups. We plan to obtain equity positions in these innovative companies, with average investments of $3-5 million per round. Storage is a huge market with ever increasing implications, and one in which Dell is already gaining ground. Through internal development, investments and acquisitions, Dell’s Fluid Data architecture is helping customers manage explosive data growth with the industry’s most efficient, innovative and cost effective storage solutions. Dell acquisitions have transformed our company from a reseller of storage to a leader in delivering its own storage intellectual property.
Our storage investments will align to the Dell Fluid Data architecture strategy with the end game of bringing more affordable and easier to manage storage solutions to more of the market. We are looking to change the economics of the storage industry by doing two things – bringing high-end enterprise features to the broad mid-market and solving enterprise problems at a midrange price point. Our storage investments will align to these tenets that we see as key to the future of storage.
To make sure that we are focusing in on the best opportunities, we have put together a cross- functional team of experts from storage, software, CTO and corporate development, drawing also on the expertise of our acquisitions. This team will be responsible not only for identifying and evaluating opportunities, but for continued oversight as we follow our investments through their lifecycle, from idea through incubation and finally to market. We plan to invest more than just money; we will contribute with sweat equity too, bringing the power of Dell to startups. Unlike pure financially oriented VCs (whom we plan to co-invest with), we bring a global brand and footprint, technical expertise and IP, OEM and go- to- market capabilities.
While we are showing a strong commitment to our storage investment beginning with an initial fund of up to $60 million, we will be responsible stewards of our financial assets, ensuring that we carefully assess returns against inherent risks of early stage startups.
Dell is a company whose very genesis was nothing more than a novel idea of a totally customer-centric approach to computing. We are now in a fortunate position to develop and fund more generations of innovative IT. We view that as our passion and purpose as well as a privilege and responsibility. It is trite but true to conclude by stating the obvious—these are indeed exciting times to be in the IT industry. And Dell plans, through shrewd investments, to fund and fuel entrepreneurial success and at the same time help Dell achieve its strategic objectives.