Wireless VC Remains 'Strong'

Wireless VC investment remained strong in the first half of 2007, according to a new report from the mobile analysts at Rutberg & Co. , with $2.7 billion invested in the six months since January.

The amount invested grew 9 percent from the same period last year. "In our view, the venture capital market for wireless remains strong," says Rutberg.

The analysts find growth both at the top end of the investment scale as well in sub-$10 million 'starter' rounds. Late-stage investments of $20 million-plus were handed out to 30 companies during the quarter. In addition, though, early stage investing is increasing, with 91 companies raising less than $10 million, compared to 78 in the same time period a year ago.

"This marked increase in small-sized deals highlights the emergence of a new set of private companies in wireless, particularly in consumer mobile applications," says Rutberg. These applications include mobile VOIP, social networks, video, content sharing, mobile shopping, mobile advertising, and voice-based search.

The top investors between January and June were Intel Capital , Sequoia Capital , and Motorola Ventures .

Interestingly, however, the recipient of some largest VC infusions in 2007 and 2006, Amp'd Mobile Inc. , recently filed Chapter 11 and then sold off its assets. Amp'd received $108 million in funding in the first half of this year, indicating, once again, just what a crapshoot this sector can be. (See Amp'd Switches Off.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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