Intel said today that it has invested $25 million in seven new startups as part of its goal of increasing demand for its own products.
The investments were led by Intel Capital, which is the investment arm of the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip maker. The investments show that Intel hasn’t flinched from its goal of supporting startups during the recession, said Arvind Sodhani (right), president of Intel Capital, at a press conference at Intel’s 10th annual CEO Summit in Huntington Beach, Calif. As proof of that, he noted that Intel has made 10 follow-on investments on its previous investments.
The new investments include U.S.-based Joyent (cloud computing) and Active Storage (RAID storage systems for Apple users), Korea-based Crucialtec (optical modulation technology), Taiwan-based Gudeng Precision Industrial Co (semiconductor front-end equipment manufacturing), Japan-based V-cube (Web-based videoconferencing systems), China-based Phoenix New Media (Web information portal) and United Arab Emirates-based NeuString (telco pricing analytics software).
Sodhani said that Intel’s investments are aimed at its strategic goals of increasing demand for Intel products. Intel typically invests in first, second or third institutional rounds of startups. But Sodhani said the compay will also invest in seed stage and pre-IPO companies. Sodhani said more than 400 of the 1,050 companies that Intel has invested in since 1991 have had exits, either through IPOs or mergers. To date, Intel Capital has invested $219 million.
The follow-on investments by Intel include Argentina-based Vostu (social gaming), Israel-based Safend (endpoint security provider), China-based China Digital Video Limited (video equipment and network solution provider), U.S.- and China-based Verisilicon Holdings (design foundry), U.K.-based picoChip (baseband silicon for 3G femtocells and WiMAX infrastructure), India-based Financial Information Network & Operations Pvt. Ltd. (biometric smartcard enabled banking solutions), India-based Wortal, Inc (local entertainment events portal, Buzzintown.com) U.S.-based Sendmail (messaging infrastructure provider) and Zend Technologies (PHP Company). Intel Capital also recently announced a $50 million investment in Clearwire.
About 36 percent of Intel’s investments go into overseas companies. Here’s Intel’s descriptions of the seven companies that received new investments:
Joyent, Inc. (Sausalito, Calif.) provides cloud computing infrastructure and services to help customers rapidly and efficiently develop, deploy and manage Web applications and sites, and to improve datacenter performance. Joyent’s unique cloud computing technologies produce unprecedented performance, utilization rates, savings and security. Joyent will use the funding to accelerate its product development and for increased global expansion.
Active Storage (Los Angeles) provides a robust media storage platform for Apple-based infrastructures. The company’s hardware RAID solutions are aimed toward the business and creative industries, particularly video post-production, broadcast, publishing, education and science. The company intends to focus this round of funding on R&D and sales and marketing.
Crucialtec (Cheon-Ahn City, Korea) is a manufacturer of specialized input devices that utilize optical technology for mobile phones, smart phones and IPTV remote controllers. Crucialtec’s Optical Trackball enables users to enjoy the full internet experience with mobile products as they do with a PC. Intel Capital’s investment will help with the development of a new generation of mobile solutions for the global market by providing Crucialtec with additional working capital.
Gudeng Precision Industrial Co (Taipei, Taiwan) is a semiconductor front-end equipment manufacturer that helps customers enhance product yield and reduce production cost by providing customized products with innovative design concepts. Presently, Gudeng Precision is the world’s leading photomask and wafer handling total solution provider, and the company’s products are accepted and certificated by worldwide tier-one customers. Gudeng Precision will use the funding to expand business in China and enhance working capital.
V-Cube (Tokyo) develops and markets Web-based videoconferencing systems. Its flagship “nice to meet you” service enables one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-many interactive real-time communications and on-demand services over the Internet. Currently, V-cube is the largest service provider in Japan for Web-delivered visual communications. The investment will be used to further optimize the service for access from mobile Internet devices and netbooks, and to stream high-quality video over WiMAX wireless broadband networks.
NeuString (Dubai, UAE) delivers predictive analytics software and consulting services to mobile network operators, helping companies to achieve greater financial performance. The NeuString Optiprizer software allows operators to optimize pricing, reduce leakage and get real-time reporting on operational metrics. The investment from Intel Capital will be used for sales and marketing build-out and new product development.
Phoenix New Media (Beijing) provides dedicated and comprehensive portals to well-educated Chinese audiences of over 100 million. The portals, which are available on internet and mobile platforms, provide news and information generated from in-depth interviews, commentary columns, and social networks. The key features offered by Phoenix New Media help address Chinese netizens’ diverse needs on information, expression, interaction and entertainment.