Dell has often put money into their own hardware and infrastructure, but after a recent announcement, it seems they are looking to invest outside the company as well. They’ve create a $60 million fund earmarked for Fluid Data Storage, with the goal of supporting developing start-ups that are focused on data storage. In exchange they’ll take an ownership stock in the products, but not the companies themselves, allowing these fledgling computer companies to continue charting their own course.

It’s a unique mix of building and buying, with the goal of finding the next gamechanger in this evolving industry. Jim Lussier, Dell’s managing director of VC, is hoping to find new products in cloud or memory-based storage, as well as innovative architectures, and it’s clear they are willing to pay other savvy tech entrepreneurs to do the heavy lifting.

Dell will give five to ten start-ups between $3 million and $5 million during this first round of funding. In return, they’ll take a percentage of future equity, as well as unlimited access to any new IPs the start-ups develop. It’s a great deal for businesses struggling to get off the ground, as long as they’re willing to work off of Dell hardware. Considering the significant market share Dell still enjoys, that shouldn’t be much of a sticking point.

The start-ups chosen for funding will be selected by a wide range of Dell experts in software, corporate development, acquisitions and storage. On top of the fluid funding, Dell also promises to invest their own sweat equity, hunting down other venture capital groups to keep the money flowing.

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