Nokia adds $150M to venture arm for Asian growth

Mobile giant Nokia has added $150 million to its venture division Nokia Growth Partners, with the goal of opening offices in China and India, as well as expanding investments in the United States and Europe.

This announcement more than doubles the investment division’s funds under management; it launched in 2004 with $100 million. Nokia Growth Partners says it’s interested in companies involved with mobile applications, location-based services (LBS), mobile advertising and music and entertainment — a pretty broad swath that covers most of the areas attracting attention in mobile technology and the mobile web.

Rick Simonson, Nokia Corp.’s chief financial officer, told VentureWire that the fund plans to make eight to 10 investments for the next three or four years, with a typical investment amounting to between $6 million and $8 million. Nokia’s particularly interested in companies that can help lower-end phones — which are taking off in emerging markets like China and India — evolve, he said. Nokia Growth Partners has hired someone from Finland to open its India office, and has also hired two investors in China. (And speaking of lower-end phones, it looks like Nokia has been cutting its prices, too.)

The firm’s previous investments include web video startup Kyte and VivoTech, a company that lets you make credit card payments using a radio frequency ID chip in your phone. Nokia’s investment activities aren’t limited to this investment division, either. As the name implies, Nokia Growth Partners focuses on later-stage funding, but Nokia has also invested in early-stage venture firms, including BlueRun Ventures and the Founders Fund.

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