Microsoft bought the Nokia cell ‘phone business in what now looks like a failed attempt to ensure that at least one manufacturer was still making Windows Phone devices. Although Nokia are forbidden from manufacturing and selling their own smartphones until later this year, the business is still going and indeed has been working on various prototype smartphone devices. However, there are other sides to Nokia beyond the smartphone: it is one of the leading cellular network infrastructure businesses on the planet today, having bought Alcatel-Lucent in order to stay competitive against Ericsson and Huawei. One of Nokia’s businesses is in investing in technologies and one of the way it does this is via Nokia Growth Partners, known as NGP. The Nokia Growth Partners business is in actual fact a global venture capital fund, sponsored by Nokia but independently managed. The venture capital fund invests in growth stage mobile technology businesses and has around $700 million under management from offices in North America, India, China and Europe.
We’ve news today that the Nokia Growth Partners has raised a $350 million fund, earmarked for investing into the Internet of Things. This fund is again sponsored by Nokia and when added to the existing $700 million, brings the NGP’s total assets under management to over $1 billion. The venture capatalists explain that their four primary subsectors for their investment will be the Connected Enterprise, Consumer Solutions, Connected Car and Digital Health areas. There will also be a focus on big data capabilities, that is, on using technology designed to handle massive amounts of raw data and use this in a meaningful way.
Nokia isn’t supporting the venture capatalist fund from the goodness of its own heart, as in return for providing investment the business is seeking a return. As such, the Internet of Things fund will support Nokia in future business ventures and provide some of the technical foundations for the IoT market, which is expected to grow very quickly over the coming few years. Nokia will be able to combine its cellular and fixed network infrastructure technical knowledge with new up and coming Internet of Things technology, including distributed cloud computing and new IoT platforms that include applications, analytics and individualized services. Nokia, along with the rest of the industry, believe that the Internet of Things will create new industries and opportunities in smart, connected homes, healthcare and even cities. Nokia’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Rajeev Suri, said this regarding the investment: “The $350 million Internet of Things investment fund, tasked with finding and funding the best entrepreneurs across the world, reflects our strong intent to be a leader in the technologies that connect people and things, while establishing successful partnerships for both Nokia and the investee companies.”