Nokia doesn’t want to miss the next wave of mobile technologies so it is doubling down on its venture investment activities. The cell phone giant is putting another $150 million to work in Nokia Growth Partners, a fund in which it is the only limited partner. This brings the total capital in the fund to $250 million (Nokia initiated the fund with $100 million in 2004). That is in addition to a $100 million fund of funds also run by Nokia Growth Partners on behalf of Nokia, which is used to sprinkle cash around to other VC firms.
So far the fund has done best investing in mobile chip companies, some of which have been acquired by ATI (BitBoys for $44 million), Broadcom (Global Locate for $143 million), and Dolby (Coding Technologies for $250 million). But it is also an investor in mobile video service Kyte. Generally, it is a alter-stage growth fund that looks for companies with a product ready to ramp up.
The new cash comes at a time when the mobile Web is generating excitement again in Silicon Valley. Most of that excitement right now surrounds the iPhone. Throwing around a little cash to encourage startups to develop cutting-edge apps for Nokia phones is not a bad strategy. The fund will also invest more heavily in China and India, where mobile growth far outstrips the U.S.