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SurfKitchen Lands $3 Million for Wireless Applications

SurfKitchen Inc., a software firm with eyes set on the burgeoning wireless market, said it raised $3 million in seed money from ADD Partners, a European-based venture capital firm.

The start-up, which employs 20 people in the Alley and in Switzerland, said the money would be used to market its services, including wireless middleware offerings, with businesses looking to jump on the wireless bandwagon.

Nandi Gurprasad, who negotiates strategic deals for SurfKitchen, said the success of his company would hinge on deals for backend work to help content portals and Internet Service Providers (ISPs)roll out wireless applications.

"We build the platform to run those applications on wired and wireless devices. For instance, if a big portal or ISP wants to add SMS text messaging to their users, we'll build the technology and do the back-end for them," Gurprasad said. "We're talking to a bunch of portals including some big names about integrating our applications for use by their customers," he told atNewYork.

Gurprasad declined to provide specifics of SurfKitchen's potential customers. But he did say the company would be pitching its services to ISPs and portals who are looking to offer wireless text messaging, calendars, bookmark managers, file managers, and webmail with multiple mailboxes.

SurfKitchen makes money on fees it takes for setting up the technology and in sharing revenues from those wireless applications. However, the company has its sights set on an ultra-competitive space.

He'll be up against other players in the wireless portal arena such as I3Mobile, OpenWave and InfoSpace, which already vend similar services. Gurprasad believes there is room for SurfKitchen's services.

"Every company out there is scratching its head and wondering how it will tap into the wireless market. We believe we have the solution," he said, noting that SurfKitchen has landed a deal with Sunrise Communications, a Swiss ISP with a userbase of 450,000.

"It is only feasible for us to get involved with an ISP or a portal with a user base of 100,000," he said.

He said the company's flagship Surfkit product was accessible using the WAP protocol from most wireless devices ranging from PDAs to mobile phones and is portable to most Java Server Middleware.