U First Capital will invest with DowDuPont division in IoT and AI | VentureBeat

U First Capital today announced it is working with DuPont Electronics & Imaging to explore investments in internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence startups. The partnership is an example of what U First Capital calls “venture capital-as-a-service.”

“Connectivity, AI and IoT are transforming many industries, bringing with it increased needs for specialized materials,” said Cathie Markham, global R&D director at DuPont Electronics & Imaging, in a statement. “We are well-positioned to be at the front end of change within this innovative-driven market and are excited to tap into the strong network of U First Capital to support our technology development in new growth areas.”

U First Capital didn’t disclose the amount it will invest via its new fund. It is providing “venture capital as a service” to major corporations by bringing external innovation (from startups or university research) in the corporation’s specific areas of interest.

“We are thrilled to work with DuPont Electronics & Imaging. They bring a customer-centric mindset with a deep focus on product excellence, and a strong technology base to add to,” said Ekta Dang, CEO of U First Capital, in a statement. “U First Capital was formed to leverage its technical strengths, network and experience in driving investments as a corporate venture capital arm.”

Above: U First Capital

Image Credit: U First Capital

U First Capital will bring together big companies, venture capitalists, startups, universities, and others. U First Capital’s advisory board has a number of venture capitalists and executives from Fortune 500 companies. It is based in Santa Clara, California. The advisers include: Amish Parashar (ex-partner, Yamaha Motor Ventures); Sudhir Ispahani (ex-CTO, Global Logic); Scott McNealy (cofounder, Sun Microsystems); Ram Jambunathan (managing director, SAP.io venture capital fund); Sumit Gupta (vice president of AI and machine learning, IBM); Ravi Srivatsav (ex-chief product and business development officer, NTT I3); and Manju Bansal (vice president, SAP).

“Corporations are increasingly looking for growth areas from external innovation, and hence creating new venture capital funds. We are uniquely positioned in this market via our venture capital as a service model under which we create a dedicated investment fund for each corporation,” said Sanjit Singh Dang, chairman of U First Capital, in a statement. “This delivers high strategic value to the Corporation while bringing top-notch financial returns. We help Corporations with creation and management of these Venture Capital funds. We bring investment opportunities in the form of cutting-edge technologies from the Startup world as well as from the University ecosystem, tailored to meet the specific strategic objectives of the Corporation.”

Singh Dang, formerly of Intel Capital, had a track record of driving an acquisition or initial public offering every year while at Intel. He worked with DocuSign (IPO 2018), Body Labs (acquired by Amazon in 2017), and VokeVR (acquired by Intel in 2016).

With the 2017 merger of Dow and DuPont, Dow Electronic Materials and DuPont Electronics & Communications have combined their portfolios and expertise to create the new DuPont Electronics & Imaging business, which is part of the new Specialty Products Division of DowDuPont.

DuPont Electronics & Imaging is a global supplier of materials and technologies serving the semiconductor, advanced chip packaging, circuit board, electronic and industrial finishing, photovoltaic, display, and digital and flexographic printing industries.