Nokia pours $250M into its VC business, grows China

Nokia Growth Partners has scored $250 million in funding from Nokia and added AMD China's president to its payroll, in order to grow business in the country.

Nokia Growth Partners (NGP) has announced a third fund after receiving a $250 million "long-term commitment" from Nokia, significantly boosting the $600 million currently under NGP's management.

The VC firm has operated since 2005 and boasts a small mobile industry portfolio based around network and communications; semiconductor and embedded software; and software and services.

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"Our ongoing commitment to Nokia Growth Partners reinforces Nokia's support for a vibrant mobile ecosystem and our determination to collaborate with industry innovators to build great mobile products," Timo Ihamuotila, Nokia executive vice president and CFO said in a statement.

NGP's recent investments include $8 million in Swedish video-streaming service Voddler and a $23 million funding round for messaging security newcomer Cloudmark, which NGP invested in during 2010. Swype, a predictive dictionary software company NGP had invested in through several rounds, was acquired by Nuance for $100 million last year.

Besides Swype, NGP's other recent IPOs and exits include Morpho, French NFC and embedded software vendor Inside Secure, Summit Electronics, and Netmagic.

Aiming to grow its Chinese business, NGP has hired David Tang, president of chipmaker AMD's Chinese operations, in addition to Lu Guo, vice president of Keytone Ventures mobile and internet investments. The pair will be based on Beijing.

"We are pleased to welcome David Tang and Lu Guo to the NGP team and look forward to their contributions to our ongoing investment activities in China, an important market for Nokia," said Paul Asel, managing partner of Nokia Growth Partners.

"David Tang is well known in the Chinese venture community as an advisor to leading mobile businesses such as UCWeb and Ganji. NGP has enjoyed a long relationship with Mr Tang during his earlier tenure as vice chairman of Nokia China."