Ingrid Vanderveldt (iV), Dell Entrepreneur in Residence. iV is an entrepreneur, investor and media personality connecting entrepreneurs to corporations. iV is leveraging her business, policy and media initiatives to “Empower a Billion Women by 2020″ to help provide women with tools, technology & resources.
Dell World last week was a great demonstration of Dell’s commitment to getting back in touch with its entrepreneurial roots and I’m honored to have been able to play a role in this year’s event. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Dell World is Dell’s annual partner and customer event and is designed to be a venue for attendees to listen, learn, and share ideas and best practices through keynotes, breakout sessions and hands-on demos and labs.
Innovation was the theme underlying this year’s event with conversations focused on the power of today’s top technology and IT solutions to make transformative changes within organizations of all sizes, and speakers ranging from Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX to Linda Rottenberg, co-founder and CEO of Endeavor Global, to Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media.
This sentiment was echoed through the announcements made during Dell World, which include the launch of a $300 Million Strategic Innovation Venture Fund to help Dell forefront of innovation for our customers and support the entrepreneurs who are helping shape the future of IT. The fund will be managed by Dell’s corporate venture arm, Dell Ventures, and will enable Dell to invest in early-to-growth-stage companies in emerging technology areas including storage, cloud computing, big data, next generation data center, security and mobility. It’s Dell’s second major investment fund and builds on the $60 million Dell Fluid Data Storage Fund announced last year.
Other news announced last week included key strategic partnerships and new alliances with companies including Dropbox, Red Hat, Accenture, Google, and Microsoft, as well as the launch of next-generation storage and networking solutions and a Dell Chromebook designed for the education market. You can check out the Dell World News page to learn more.
In terms of events, one of my favorites this year had to be the Tech Innovation Day: Pitch Slam, which I had a blast hosting alongside a judging panel that featured Michael Dell, Daymond John from ABC’s Shark Tank and founder of global lifestyle brand FUBU, and Elizabeth Gore, the first ever resident entrepreneur at the UN Foundation. In a “Shark Tank” style event but with a much more supportive atmosphere than what you’ve seen on the TV show, seven late-stage startup companies from all over the nation and one finalist from the UK were each given eight minutes to convince the judges why Dell should partner with them (five minutes to pitch and three for Q&A). All the companies received great feedback from the judges and standing room only audience, but wanted to once again congratulate the judge’s favorites Fantoo, Neverware and Guavus!
Another great panel discussion I was involved in as moderator was entitled “Bringing the Outside In: Fueling the Future Innovation through Entrepreneurship” which looked at what inspires us as entrepreneurs, where we’re headed as a global community and precisely why investing in future innovation is worth our while. The panel was a rare opportunity where a group of corporate executives including Tiny Louie, senior director for the Nasdaq Private Market, Diane Tate, program manager for Mozilla WebFWD, and Maggie Finch, the manager of strategic partnerships – startup and small business for American Airlines, came together to discuss one of my favorite topics – entrepreneurship and what it means for big business. Speakers underscored the importance both of fostering entrepreneurship within companies and how putting time and resources toward connecting with the entrepreneurial marketplace is a smart business strategy and a means to fuel innovation, attract top talent, and sustain a competitive advantage.
Overall, Dell World 2013 was a great success and it was great to see Dell’s entrepreneurial spirit really take center stage at this year’s event, and I’m excited to see what’s in store for 2014!