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Telcos: The New VCs?

Ray Le Maistre
6/28/2012

1:10 PM -- European digital applications developers looking for fresh investment are increasingly likely to get their backing from the region's telcos.

Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) recently launched its startup incubator in an effort to fund innovative young companies located in its operating territories, and now one of its peers is pumping cash into mobile startups. (See Telefónica to Hatch Startups .)

Telia Company has announced investments in two young companies: NorthID, a Finnish developer focused on securing the exchange of digital personal information and digital identities; and Accumulate AB, which has developed processes for secure transactions that can be used for mobile payments, banking and authentication services.

"Our strategy is to invest in new or existing companies close to our own core business, which support mobile behavior and add value to our customers. In the long-run, this will have a positive impact on TeliaSonera’s business. We have several examples of successful partnerships, for instance our cooperation with Spotify," noted TeliaSonera.

Other operators are acting as incubators, too, including Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), while vendors are looking for decent seed companies, too. (See Will Vodafone Start a Mobile Coupon Craze? and NSN Creates Spinoff Investment Fund.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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