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Monday, 12 May 2008 12:26

RIM launches $US150m mobile apps fund

BlackBerry developer Research in Motion, The Royal Bank of Canada and Thomson Reuters are to launch a $US150 million venture capital fund to invest in mobile applications and services for the BlackBerry and other mobile platforms.

The Fund is to be co-managed by JLA Ventures - a venture capital firm that invests in Internet, digital media, e-commerce, communications security, mobile computing, and enterprise software companies - and RBC Venture Partners. The partners say it will be "agnostic to both [development] stage and balance sheet," of target companies and "will not restrict the development of mobile applications and services to any single mobile platform or any specific industry segment."

Its announcement follows that in March of a $US100m fund to focus on "market-changing ideas and products that extend the revolutionary new iPhone and iPod touch platform." That fund, launched by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, is backed by Apple which is providing market insight and support.

The new fund, to be known as the BlackBerry Partners Fund, will be "designed to advance the industry by fostering development and driving the entrepreneurial spirit to create the most innovative mobile offerings for customers."

John Albright, managing partner of JLA Ventures, who will also assume the role of co-managing partner of the BlackBerry Partners Fund, said the fund would "focus on evaluating companies in all regions of the world and investing in the long term success of those that demonstrate market leadership and unique differentiation...Whether it's access to corporate data or the latest craze in mobile entertainment, we want to fund companies that are forerunners in driving adoption and further enriching the mobile experience."
Kevin Talbot, RBC vice president and managing director of RBC Venture Partners, will assume the role of co-managing partner of the BlackBerry Partners Fund.


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