Suddenly Every Company Is Becoming A Venture Capitalist

Suddenly Every Company Is Becoming A Venture Capitalist

It has often been said that every company is a software company or even a big data company, but as I attended the Intel Capital Global Summit last week, another thought occurred to me: every company is now also an investment company.

The star of the show last week was Intel Capital of course, the venture arm of Intel Corporation, but it’s far from alone. Over dinner strictly by coincidence, I sat with three people who were all involved in running their company’s investment efforts. Everywhere I looked there seemed to be corporate investors looking for a place to put their money.

It wasn’t my imagination. According to data provided by the National Venture Capital Association, more than 20 percent of VC dollars in the third quarter came from corporate venture capital. That accounted for over $2.3 billion in corporate venture capital investments for the period.

Keep in mind, these numbers could be conservative, especially when you consider Intel Capital openly talked about investing $3 billion to $4 billion a year and possibly reaching $5 billion this year alone.

Consider that in March, 2014 Intel Capital invested a colossal $740 million (a large percentage of its yearly investment pool) in Cloudera, the big data Hadoop company with a valuation in the neighborhood of $4 billion. Intel owns a serious 18 percent stake in the company with that investment.

This year, the company set aside $67 million for investments in eight Chinese companies. They had a blockbuster exit in Virtustream, which was bought by EMC for $1.2 billion last May. They are in fact as serious as any private investment outfit on Sand Hill Road.

But they aren’t the only ones.

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