I’m excited to announce that I’m joining the investment team at Dell Technologies Capital. I will focus on early stage startups in enterprise infrastructure and security, so if you are working on a company in these areas, I would love to chat. Send me a message on LinkedIn or email me at email@example.com
For those who know me, this is either expected or shocking. Personally, I never thought I would end up in venture capital. Going into my PhD, I always thought I was going to be a professor or a research scientist at Google, but more observant friends have told me that I’ve always had startup DNA. I grew up in Silicon Valley and went to Stanford. While doing my PhD at MIT, I joined Rough Draft Ventures and start my own cybersecurity summer program for early-stage startups Cybersecurity Factory. So, I’m not in foreign territory, and I’ve learned a lot about the VC industry in the past four years and am excited to learn more.
Don’t worry, I plan to maintain my technical skills with side projects, and I will continue to blog about cool research and tech on my Medium. I’m still a technical person at heart. Suggestions for blogging and side projects are always welcome!
Here are some reasons why I’m doing VC and why I chose Dell Technologies Capital. One big criterion surrounding my choice: I wanted to find a job and place that I could see myself staying for at least the next 10 years.
Why venture capital?
I explored many options after my PhD, including academia, finance, and startups. I believe I managed to find an option that captured the best aspects of all my other choices.
Working with smart founders on groundbreaking ideas.
One of the reasons for doing a PhD was to work with very smart people on interesting ideas. At MIT, I was challenged and inspired everyday, and learned a lot as a result! In VC, I will be in a similar environment— working with talented founders to help build their businesses. I am excited to develop and evolve ideas at their earliest stages. Most importantly, I want to ensure companies reach their fullest potential. It’s always amazing to see ideas turn into successful businesses.
The human aspect and people behind technology.
I’ve been thinking about this point a lot during my PhD. I’ve also talked about it here with Phil Guo. Many times, as computer scientists, we spend so much time thinking how to be more efficient through automation or technology that we forget about the humans behind it. When we talk about companies and executives, we focus on their work, but we forget they have stories and lives that inform their decisions. The people behind the products and their stories are just as interesting, if not more interesting, than the technology itself. In VC, I get to work closely with the people behind these technologies and be able to understand and be apart of their stories.
The need for more technologists.
One of the biggest frustrations I hear from technical founders is that VCs “don’t get it.” I agree that the technology behind enterprise infrastructure companies has become more technical, which make differentiators very subtle. I think it’s important to have technical VCs who can work with founders to translate these technical differentiators into business value. Technical understanding allows VCs to spend more time on business and product strategy and less time on being educated by the founders. Therefore, being a technical investor can bring a lot of value to a firm and a startup.
Why Dell Technologies Capital?
Before I talk about why I chose Dell Technologies Capital (DTC), most important question: who and what is DTC?
Dell Technologies Capital (DTC) is the venture capital practice of Dell Technologies. DTC invests in passionate founders that push the envelope in next generation cloud infrastructure, cybersecurity, devops, AI and open source. We lead rounds in startups that could be great financial investments and could potentially benefit from business relationships with VMWare, Pivotal, Dell, EMC, RSA, Secureworks or Virtustream. We are stage agnostic and can invest from seed to late stage growth.
Strong portfolio and growing brand.
One major trend I’ve seen in the last 4 years is that VC is getting more competitive. There are more firms, and it’s more important now than ever to differentiate and actually provide value to founders. DTC has an awesome portfolio, and very notable exits, including 2 unicorn IPOs this year with Zscaler and Docusign, which they had Series A board seats. It’s not surprising though. It’s obvious why enterprise infrastructure companies choose to go with DTC because they provide so much value and insight, leading to a mutually beneficial partnership (more in the next section).
I am also excited to work on a growing brand. About a year ago, DTC came out of stealth and is increasing awareness of its brand. I’m excited to be joining at this transformative time, and I believe that DTC’s best days are still yet to come!
Best aspects of a corporate VC and a traditional VC.
Dell Technologies is a huge organization that owns companies like EMC, VMware, RSA, and Pivotal. As a result, DTC can bring the resources of a corporate VC, such as access to data, strategic sales channels, and engineering and research contacts. These resources can be useful and valuable, especially at the earliest stage of an enterprise infrastructure company. Like a traditional VC funds, DTC leads rounds and take board seats to be heavily involved in a company’s journey. The value that DTC brings to an enterprise company is enormous, and I am excited to be part of the platform that can provide so much support beyond just capital!
I cannot praise the team at DTC enough. In addition to their deep business expertise, they have strong technical backgrounds and care very deeply about technology behind the companies they back. It’s awesome to work with a team that spends so much time nerding out about technology!
I’m excited to join DTC and work with awesome entrepreneurs. If you’re working on something cool or just want to chat, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on LinkedIn or Twitter.