Friday Funding Roundup

No surprise that WiMax looms large in this week's funding roundup. Airband Communications Inc. and SiGe Semiconductor Inc. have both received money to work with the wireless broadband technology. Gemini Mobile Technologies Inc. has also grabbed more venture capital to pursue its own very trendy technology -- 3D mobile software for cellphones.

Airband Communications: The Dallas-based fixed-wireless enterprise service provider has received a $12.5 million series C round led by M/C Venture Partners .

The company -- which operates fixed-wireless services in Baltimore, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Southern California -- is upgrading to WiMax and planning to use the new money to double the capacity of networks in key markets. The company claims 3,500 business customers and offers wireless data, VOIP, and security and other services.

Airband has so far raised over $68 million in funding since it started in 2000.

SiGe Semiconductor: The Ottawa-based radio system chip startup has scored a $20 million Series E round with strategic funding from Samsung Venture Investment Corp.

The company says the extra cash will be used to expand development of WiMax radio frequency silicon, as well as WiFi and positioning systems. The firm currently produces power amplifiers and integrated circuits for Bluetooth, cellular, GPS, and WLAN applications.

SiGe's major customers include Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), CSR , and Samsung Corp. The firm's most serious rival in the field is RF Micro Devices Inc. (Nasdaq: RFMD).

SiGe once again proves that it isn't cheap being a chip startup: It's raised around $132 million in total funding since it launched in 1999.

Gemini Mobile Technologies: The Californian developer of 3D software environments for mobile phones has grabbed an additional financing round of $5 million from Japan's Access Co. Ltd. , Aplix Corp. , and Nomura Securities .

This comes hard on the heels of a $20 million round from Goldman Sachs & Co. So, why such interest in a six-year-old software developer?

Simple. Gemini is helping to bring more sophisticated social networking software to Japan. SoftBank Corp. is using its S! Town 3D interface, which has gathered more than 100,000 subscribers in just a few months. (See Friday Funding Roundup.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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