EMC Forms Venture Fund

By Stuart J. Johnston

Officials for storage giant EMC have confirmed that the company has started its own venture capital group -- dubbed EMC Ventures -- but played down the move as a continuation of a path it's already on.

"EMC Ventures is a continuation and expansion of the investment approach we've successfully executed for many years," an EMC (NYSE: EMC) spokesperson said in an email to InternetNews.com. "Beyond that, EMC does not publicly discuss investment-related matters or practices," the spokesperson continued.

The story first surfaced Wednesday in a report in the Dow Jones VentureWire e-newsletter.

In fact, over the years, EMC has gained quite a reputation for acquisitions, both large and small.

However, the newsletter stated that, according to another Dow Jones property, VentureSource, EMC has made more than 80 strategic investments over the years, "most of which are either out of business or acquired."

For instance, on the large side, the company bought VMwarefor $635 million in 2004, and Iomega for $213 million in 2008.

On the smaller side, last summer, EMC anted up for Greenplum, a small data warehousing vendor that creates massively parallel database technology. No details of the deal were disclosed.

What's different about the new venture group which was formed in February, according to VentureWire, is that EMC Ventures has "a broader scope and will invest in broader categories of companies." The newsletter credited the statements to Andrew Jenks, which it described as a member of the group's investment team.

The newsletter also noted that EMC last week purchased venture-backed security software firm Netwitness. That follows an investment in February in cloud-based billing firm Aria Systems, as part of a $20 million round of Series C funding, the newsletter said.

A series of smaller investments may be in the cards going forward.

The newsletter quoted EMC's CEO Joe Tucci as telling Dow Jones in July, "My strong, strong preference is to do a string of pearls and go after the smaller companies with leading technology."

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

This article was originally published on April 15, 2011