dots dots dots arrow THE ROUNDTABLE

An Anniversary and a Look Ahead

Oct 31, 2022 · 2  min

Ten years ago, when I began what is now known as Dell Technologies Capital, I started with three foundational rules:

  1. Stick to what we know: investing in enterprise technology.
  2. Invest where leveraging the Dell Technologies platform would benefit a young company.
  3. Build a team that is, above all, highly-competent and collaborative.

When Raman Khanna, Gregg Adkin, and Daniel Docter joined the team in the early days, we reaffirmed our commitment to these values. Over the past decade, those rules have served us well as we’ve invested in incredible founders, delivered compelling results, and have created a team that enjoys working hard together.

 

There were several profound technology trends that emerged in our first decade that produced huge tailwinds for enterprise investing. Most notably: the rise of mobile; the migration to the cloud; and then every aspect of the enterprise becoming data-driven. So now, we all walk around with super computers in our pockets, which has helped to fuel a 30x growth in data created and 10x growth in cloud spend. And as cloud and compute strategies subsequently evolved, every corner of tech – security, data & analytics, dev tools, edge, SaaS, silicon – has matured alongside it. These trends created tremendous opportunity and have allowed us to earn in excess of 4x lifetime cash-on-cash returns.

I’ve seen significant changes in the venture landscape as well. 10 years ago, there weren’t many returns-driven corporate investment teams like ours. We had access to leveraging Dell’s scaled platform but were also leading early-stage investments, taking active board seats, and remaining committed to our portfolio companies as they scaled. Entrepreneurs have gravitated towards our model. More than 30% of all new venture rounds in the US include corporate investment – up from just 10% when we started – and more than half of all tech IPOs in the last five years have had corporate investors on their balance sheet.

One thing’s certain, we couldn’t do what we do without the people who are willing to bet big and start something. We’re fortunate that founders and leaders such as Jayshree Ullal at Arista, Jay Chaudhry at Zscaler, Tom Gosner at DocuSign, Shlomi Ben Haim at JFrog, Ofer Bengal at Redis, Romain Moulin and Renaud Heitz of Exotec, and Garima Kapoor and AB Periasamy at MinIO, chose to partner with us, some when it was early on for both them and us. Today, these companies are powering and securing the productivity of millions of people working across thousands of businesses globally.

We’re equally as fortunate to be connected into the next generation of entrepreneurs, many of whom have left prominent roles at technology companies or in academia to start companies like BastionZero, Cymulate, Endor Labs, Fly.io, Tag-n-Trac, and Tetrate. These founders are leaning into uncertainty to build new foundational companies.

A decade in, I am proud of the track record we’ve earned and the solid team we’ve built. It’s a team that has the experience to navigate the tougher arcs of a business cycle but also the optimism to know there’s always a next wave of innovation setting up. It’s a privilege to be in this business and to work with the people that we do. And we’re just getting started.

Scott Darling