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Dell's $300M venture fund arm to invest in Indian start-ups

Posted: 27 Nov 2015     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:start-up  venture fund  investment  cloud computing  analytics 

Indian start-ups have another reason to celebrate as Dell Ventures, the $300-million venture fund arm of PC giant Dell, plans to partner or invest in "new-age disruptive start-ups" as part of its strategic drive in Asia, a top executive told The Economic Times in an interview.

Dell's timing is unquestionable as India currently stands as a haven for e-commerce, with companies such as Alibaba, Amazon and Soft-Bank investing billions of dollars in the country. Dell Ventures will formally reveal its plans for India in the coming months.

Dell Ventures is investing to innovate in India and in Asia as a whole, creating an expanding ecosystem in the region, said Amit Midha, president of Asia Pacific and Japan at Dell. In addition, the venture fund arm also announced a $125-million investment in China.

Midha is set to head Dell Ventures' operations in Asia.

Shortly after going private in 2013, Dell announced the creation of a fund called the Strategic Innovation Fund for start-ups. Pundits saw the revival of the venture fund arm, which remained inactive since its launch in the early 2000s, as a positive development for the company.

"What we are interested in is furthering our strategy in India. We are not a hedge fund, we are not a VC firm—what we are interested in is, as and when an opportunity comes that fits in with our strategy, we will be interested in backing. And not only commercial relationships, but also financial relationships," The Economic Times quoted Midha as saying.

Dell's investment will focus on start-ups that are developing "disruptive solutions" in areas such as analytics, security and cloud computing. The company will also invest in start-ups that have gone beyond the "five-people operation" phase.

"The company needs to have some sort of momentum, some customer traction. We are not an accelerator; we are more interested in companies that are growing their businesses. And our involvement will help them grow even faster and also give them credibility points," Midha told The Economic Times.

Dell Ventures, according to Midha, would not necessarily focus on financial investments alone. The company floats the idea of partnering with start-ups in Asia. One example is Dell's recent partnership with InMobi, an Indian mobile ad start-up.

In September, Dell founder Michael Dell had flown to India to meet local start-ups, showing his commitment towards the Indian market.

- Stephen Padilla

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