Intel on Wednesday explained the strategy and vision for the company's investment arm, Intel Capital, during the second day of the Intel Channel Alliance Summit in Portland, Ore.
In a keynote address, Steve Eichenlaub, managing director for the platform technologies, clean technology and health-care sectors within Intel Capital, offered a glimpse into his organization's mission and objectives, which include strategic investments in emerging products and technologies.
Eichenlaub also likened the trend identification role that Intel Capital plays within Intel to the role IT solution providers play for their vendor partners. "It's very easy for big companies to be heads down, but Intel Capital helps open Intel's eyes to what is going on around us, much in the same way the channel does," Eichenlaub said.
Intel Capital recently unveiled plans to invest $300 million in the development of Ultrabooks, a category of light-weight laptops pioneered by Intel. The investment will deploy over the course of several years and will apply funding to the advancement of slim components, new ingredient technologies and device capabilities as well as complementary infrastructure and services, Eichenlaub said.
While 2010 was a small investing year for Intel Capital, with $327 million spent, expectations for total investments in 2011 hover around $500 million, Eichenlaub said, adding that Intel's year-to-date investments total $273 million.
While the Ultrabook funding is intended to drive innovation in a specific product category, Intel Capital also invests in individual companies around the world. To date, Intel Capital has invested in 1,140 companies, including 191 IPOs and 268 acquisitions, for a total of $10 billion spent, Eichenlaub said.
Eichenlaub explained that not all of Intel Capital's investments are independent ones, and that various financial companies often invest alongside Intel Capital to mitigate risk and provide expertise.
Intel often leads the investment rounds and takes the largest stakes in these combined investment efforts. In addition to reduced risk, this arrangement reduces the time required for certain investments, Eichenlaub said.
"We find like-minded investors who will pool money with us and help us - in a global sense - with how quickly we can make our investments," he said.