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Friday Funding Roundup

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
2/23/2007

WiMax silicon and mobile email startups plumb the deep pockets of the wireless VC community this week in our regular funding roundup.

Sequans Communications : The funding market is still hot for WiMax chip startups, especially those working on mobile broadband systems. This week Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) made an undisclosed investment in Sequans after signing a deal to use the Paris, France-based startup's chips in its mobile WiMax (802.16e) base stations. (See Alcatel Uses Sequans WiMax Chips.)

The money is an add-on to Sequan's last $24 million funding round, which closed in July 2006. The four-year-old firm has raised over $35 million in total, not counting the strategic investment from Alcatel-Lucent or "substantial" money from Motorola Ventures . (See Motorola Invests in Sequans and Sequans Scores $24M.)

There's plenty of VC money floating around for mobile-focused WiMax chip vendors at the moment. Sequan's rival Beceem Communications Inc. also closed a $40 million round recently. (See Beceem Gets $40M.)

Visto Corp. : The oldest startup in town is still raking in the VC money. The 11-year-old Redwood Shores, Calif.-based wireless email company Visto has just closed a $35 million add-on to the $51 million of financing it announced last September, bringing its latest cash haul to $86 million.

The new money comes from Altitude Capital Partners. Bringing Visto's total funding to a whopping $315 million, this is described as the firm's final round.

Visto says it will use the money to continue worldwide growth, extend its product portfolio, and "protect foundational intellectual property."

Visto has been pretty busy on that front over the last couple of years with high-profile cases against BlackBerry and Seven Networks Inc. (See Here We Go Again.)

Dash Navigation Inc.: Consumer GPS location firm Dash Navigation Inc. is the latest firm to find that sustained consumer interest in wireless automobile direction systems can add up to VC dollars.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, which came out of stealth mode in 2006, has just scored a $25 million series B round of funding led by Crescendo Ventures . The firm is now hoping to introduce its GPS-navigation gadget later this year. Dash has grabbed over $40 million in total funding so far.

Dash says its gizmo is different because it allows drivers to connect to the Internet and network amongst themselves, getting the most real-time information on traffic conditions as possible.

AirClic: On the business end of location systems, Newton, Penn.-based AirClic has tracked down $12.5 million in venture capital financing in a round led by JMI Equity Fund LP .

The company, which was started in 1999, calls what it does "business process mobilization." In practice this means Web- and location-enabling an array of applications that engineers, warehouse workers, and mobile sales people use outside the office so data can be sent and received that much more efficiently to and from corporate locations. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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