January 9, 2019

In this article

  • Head of Pathfinder reflects on the state of the program since its inception 4 years ago

  • What makes Pathfinder unique in the corporate venture ecosystem

  • What the future of Pathfinder has in store for HPE and our customers

Woman and a whiteboard

An inside look at the unique work driven by the corporate venture arm for Hewlett Packard Enterprise

As we welcome 2019, I reflect on the state of Hewlett Packard Pathfinder and how far we have come in the four years since forming and the tremendous opportunity ahead of us. We are a small team tasked with doing something new at HPE tapping into the extraordinary external innovations of the venture-backed startup ecosystem and influencing the strategic discussions and solution creation across HPE’s businesses.

We are tasked with something new @HPE tapping into external innovations of the startup ecosystem

We have driven strategic decisions, invested in a portfolio of companies strategically aligned to HPE, and successfully created joint solutions, delivering tangible, meaningful value to our portfolio companies. In this time of rapid change in the IT industry, Pathfinder has the unique opportunity to meaningfully influence the execution of HPE’s strategy creating value for our shareholders, customers, and portfolio companies.

What Makes Pathfinder Unique

At its core, Pathfinder is the corporate venture arm of Hewlett Packard Enterprise. But what differentiates Pathfinder from other venture programs? It is the broad goal of investing in companies aligned to the HPE strategy, integrating these technologies into the HPE product portfolio, and bringing combined solutions to customers. This work is driven through three main focus areas: insights, investments, and solutions.

  • Insights: Pathfinder is a mechanism for HPE to keep its finger on the pulse of the start-up and VC community mainly in Silicon Valley, but also around the world. Pathfinder tracks emerging trends and innovative companies that are relevant to HPE’s businesses, and engages internally across the company providing executives a single source of truth on developments in the venture start-up community. The dialog fostered with our business leaders influences their business and partner strategies.

  • Investments: Pathfinder is a key element of HPE’s three tiered approach to innovation: organic innovation, acquisition, and investments. Pathfinder provides a unique means to engage via investment with companies that are driving relevant innovation aligned to HPE’s strategy. We make small, equity investments in leading companies, giving us shared interest in elevating the companies and their products to success in the market. HPE wants to bring the latest innovative technologies to customers and we recognize we cannot create everything internally.

  • Solutions: Pathfinder’s ultimate goal is to bring innovative, integrated solutions to HPE’s customers that are vetted by our technologists and are delivered through HPE for a seamless experience. Pathfinder provides insights to customers on over-the-horizon technologies and the leading companies creating them so that customers can plan accordingly. We work with our portfolio companies to create validated solutions, combining HPE’s products with their cutting edge technologies, and deliver them through HPE so our customers can trust that these solutions are enterprise ready.

Pathfinder partners with the companies in the portfolio on their solution journey with HPE. We help them understand what to expect in terms of engagement and where to focus. The journey encompasses many modes, but may include: customer introductions, solidification of joint value propositions and selling motions, or enablement of the portfolio company’s product on the HPE price list. The journey evolves with time with the goal of enabling joint success; customer engagement, solution creation, technical integration, and field enablement for global scale and a robust partnership.

What differentiates Pathfinder? Investing and integrating technology to bring solutions to customers

The Future of Pathfinder

We have established a program that has demonstrated the ability to invest rationally and drive value from a financial perspective. We’ve demonstrated the ability to drive solutions that return value both to HPE and the startups through direct revenue. Moving forward, our goal is to build on those successes by adding leading, strategically aligned companies to the portfolio and enabling them along the partnership journey. I am honored to lead the Pathfinder team and eager to see what is in store for 2019. I look forward to sharing more about Pathfinder activities and successes in the future.