Pelican Imaging lands $20m from VC arms of Qualcomm and Nokia

Array camera startup gets strategic mobile investment partners.

Array camera startup Pelican Imaging has closed a $20m round of Series C funding with new investments from Nokia Growth Partners (NGP), Qualcomm Ventures and existing investors.

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NGP, Nokia's venture capital fund, said yesterday it was planning to invest in Pelican Imaging , which recently unveiled a new line of computational array cameras for mobile devices that takes multiple images at different depths and allow post-shot refocusing.

The funding round also included Pelican's existing investors Globespan Capital Partners, Granite Ventures, InterWest Partners and IQT, which chipped in $10m in a Series B round in 2010, following a $7m round in 2009 from the partners. The companies did not disclose the amount of their respective Series C investments.

NGP and Qualcomm offer Pelican Imaging its first strategic industry partners since launching in 2008. 

"The support from industry leaders like Qualcomm Ventures and NGP really underscores the validity of our technology in the marketplace," Pelican Imaging CEO and President Christopher Pickett said in a statement.

Nokia has made imaging central to differentiating its devices in a crowded smartphone market by using technologies such as PureView, first launched in its final Symbian device the PureView 808. Some features trickling on to its new Lumia 920 and 820 and Nokia plans to push new imaging features down to its lower end devices.

Nokia also snapped up imaging tech company Scalado last year, while NGP invested in image sensor company InVisage in February.

NGP managing partner Bo Ilsoe told Bloomberg yesterday that array cameras were "on the cusp of being commercialised and Pelican does software for that."

Today, he added in a statement: "Pelican Imaging's computational camera solutions are at the cutting edge of mobile camera technologies. We believe they're positioned to lead the next wave in video and image capture; they’re a great addition to our portfolio of innovators in the imaging space."