HMD Global has been one of the mobile world’s biggest surprise hits in recent years. Founded by former Nokia execs, the Finnish company has made a name for itself reviving the dearly departed brand on Android smartphones to great effect. And it just managed to raise another $100 million, led by Ginko Ventures’ Alpha Ginko VC branch.
The new round puts the company’s valuation at more than $1 billion, according to HMD. It’s set to use this latest round to push even more “aggressively” into the mobile category with its branded devices, “doubl[ing] down on expanding channel reach in strategic markets while continuing to deliver innovation where it matters most to consumers.”
Not that the company’s been cautious in its push thus far, of course. HMD already has a lot of options out there for a business that’s essentially been in existence for a year-and-a-half. At MWC back in February, it announced five new phones sporting the legacy brand, including a reboot of the 8110. The company has also been positioning itself in developing markets, where the Nokia name still has a fair amount of cache, by wholeheartedly adopting Google’s Android One program.
It’s a tricky line to walk, between an embrace of retro appreciation and an attempt to offer innovation. Continuing its successful run is going to require more than just playing upon user nostalgia for a bygone brand.
The question moving forward is whether HMD will be able to reassert Nokia as a truly bleeding-edge brand as it continues to flood the market with branded devices. After all, the smartphone market is starting to plateau, and much of the competition has begun to scale back their releases.