Nokia to pump $250M into mobile venture capital fund

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Nokia (NYSE:NOK) said it plans to invest $250 million in a new venture capital fund to give money to promising mobile startups, part of its strategy of investing in future mobile opportunities.

The Finnish handset vendor said the cash will go into a third fund from its Nokia Growth Partners operation, which has a total of $600 million under management. The fund will invest between $5 million and $15 million and will work "closely with other value added investors offering complementary skills and perspectives."

"Over the past decade, Nokia has developed an innovative venturing strategy," Nokia CFO Timo Ihamuotila said. "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." Under CEO Stephen Elop, Nokia has made investing in future mobile "disruptions" one of the pillars of its business strategy.

Nokia reported net cash on hand of $5.8 billion at the end of 2012, up from $4.75 billion at the end of September. While the $5.8 billion figure is down 22 percent from the end of 2011, Nokia's position improved due to cost cuts and a brighter financial picture at Nokia Siemens Networks.

As part of the announcement, NGP also said it will expand its presence in China, with the appointments of David Tang as managing director and Lu Guo as principal. Tang previously served as vice chairman of Nokia China, while Lu was responsible for mobile and Internet investments at Keystone Ventures, according to Bloomberg.

Nokia has made pushing into China a key part of its strategy with its Lumia Windows Phone line. The company recently struck a deal with China Mobile to sell a Chinese variant of its flagship Lumia 920 smartphone, the 920T. China Telecom started selling the CDMA-capable Lumia 800C last April.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article

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