Wireless Grabs $488M Since July

Venture capital investors have a healthy appetite for wireless data networking technology, according to a new report from Unstrung's intrepid research analyst, Gabriel Brown. His new report, Funding: Startup Roundup, found that $488 million in venture capital was committed to the wireless sector between July 18 and October 18, 2002. That's a lot of liquid lunches. So which companies celebrated the biggest cash injections? Here's the top five investments by value during that time:
  • LittleFeet Inc.: mini GSM base stations and relay points; $22 million
  • Sonim Technologies Inc.: SIP-based infrastructure software; $21.6 m
  • Synad Technologies Ltd.: fabless multimode 802.11 chipsets; $20.7 m
  • Arescom Inc.: MTU and hospitality sector WLAN and DSL; $20 m
  • Ember Corp.: embedded mesh network modules; $20 m
    Brown believes the wide variety of technologies represented by the full range of investments is encouraging for the sector in general. However, he found that the most notable feature of the list is that $20 million appears to represent some kind of natural, upper limit to the size of individual deals. Deals of $50 million and more are a thing of the past, he notes. Of the 56 deals noted in his report, only 10 were A-rounds, confirming "anecdotal evidence that the current funding climate is skewed toward later-stage startups," writes Brown. The two firms that netted the biggest overall investments to date -- Cambridge Silicon Radio plc (CSR) ($140 million) and Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. ($90 million) -- are both from the semiconductor/chipset sector, where new entrants traditionally require vast amounts of cash over long periods to generate positive returns. The report, which groups the deals into eight categories, is the first in what will be a quarterly update of wireless sector VC funding.

    — The Staff, Unstrung
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