MobileIron, a company that helps corporate IT departments manage employee smartphones, originally caught my eye because it had the backing of some impressive venture firms — Sequoia Capital, Norwest Venture Partners, and Storm Ventures. Now the Sunnyvale, Calif. company has raised an $11 million second round co-led by the same investors.
MobileIron launched officially just a couple of weeks ago. The company’s key technology involves the creation of a virtual version of each employee’s smartphone that runs on the corporate data center, allowing the employer to see how the phone is being used and to control company data on that device. The growing consumer interest in emerging smartphone platforms like the iPhone and the Palm Pre creates a big opportunity for a company that can help enterprises feel comfortable with those phones, says Norwest partner and MobileIron board member Matt Howard.
“There’s a lot of pressure multi-dimensionally from a user wanting a certain type of device and a [chief information officer] wanting certain types of capabilities,” he says. “[MobileIron allows] people to have their cake and eat it, too.”
Chief executive Bob Tinker says he was in the process of closing the round when I interviewed him for the company launch, so not much has changed — the new funding just allows MobileIron to pursue the strategy he previously outlined. The company raised its $8.8 million first round in March 2008.
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