RealTime IT News

Motorola Ventures Increases Bets

Amid growing demand for new wireless technology, Motorola Ventures expects its investments in startups to top $100 million this year, a company spokeswoman said.

The anticipated boost is driven by several factors, including more attractive opportunities in IP and other technologies, as well as an improved corporate balance sheet.

"Timing for MV to become more aggressive is perfect -- with the build out of 3G networks, growth of data, video/satellite to handsets, connected home, smart auto, and on and on," Jennifer Weyrauch, a Motorola spokeswoman, told internetnews.com.

The handset maker established its venture capital arm in 1999. Since then, Motorola Ventures has averaged between $75 million and $100 million in total financing annually. It typically invests between $3 million to $5 million per round, looking for early-stage companies whose technology could fit in one of its business areas.

In addition to financial backing, the group provides business and technology expertise and support.

During the late 1990s, it was not unusual for large IT players to have their own venture capital units -- both to support technology that could be used in future products and to rake in profits from the hot merger and acquisition and IPO markets.

That, of course, changed with the dot-com and telecom downturn. But Motorola and a handful of other companies, including chipmaking giant Intel , kept their investment groups.

"We have consistently been one of the most active, profitable corporate VCs and we intend to get stronger," Weyrauch said.