Re-imagining Corporate Venture Investing
Scott Darling, president of Dell Technologies Capital, says that investing in startups that compete with parent company Dell Technologies is far from forbidden. It's actually part of doing business. "Something that may look competitive today, could be something that's very important to [Dell] later," Darling told CRN in an interview. "And you have to be willing to take risks and bet on things that may not look entirely aligned, and do it anyway."
Following the merger between Dell and EMC, the portfolio of venture investments from EMC (and to a lesser extent from Dell) have come together to form the Dell Technologies Capital portfolio. Most of the VC unit's team, including Darling, also came over from EMC. Dell Technologies Capital plans to invest about $100 million a year going forward, into between 20 and 40 deals annually, Darling said. The firm brings numerous differences from the typical corporate VC model, including a focus on backing young startups (mostly Series A and Series B funding rounds) and working actively in building the companies -- as well as the interest in backing startups even if they compete with Dell Technologies or Dell EMC. Dell Technologies Capital is a key avenue for Dell to stay connected to the massive amount of innovation taking place outside the company, Darling said.
What follows is a portion of our interview with Darling.