Novarra raises $50M from Qualcomm, others

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Mobile Internet browser technology developer Novarra has quietly raised $50 million in venture capital, led by return backer JK&B Capital. The round also includes a strategic investment from Qualcomm that will help the company expand into Asia. Fort Washing Capital Investors and a fund related to PERA also contributed to the deal. The company's original investor, Kettle Partners, did not participate in this round since it went belly-up several years ago, but it does still own a minority stake in the company.

Novarra's approach to enabling a better mobile Internet experience centers on carrier clients like Vodafone U.K. and service providers like Yahoo. Novarra just announced a deal with Yahoo to transcode the Web pages for the company's oneSearch service. Novarra's competitors include Action Engine and the .mobi domain, which seeks to empower content providers to build their own made-for-mobile sites.

"We knew the company was going to have a pretty steep acceleration ramp once its technology was adopted by a leading carrier," Tasha Seitz, a partner with JK&B Capital and a Novarra board member, explained to peHub. "The same thing happened when Sprint deployed Phone.com [later renamed Openwave], which we had also invested in."

For more on the Novarra funding:
- read the peHUB article here

UPDATE: The story is corrected above: Novarra provides a transcoding service for Yahoo's oneSearch. Yahoo designed oneSearch for the mobile platform.