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Google and Qualcomm join $230 million investment in Nokia phone maker HMD Global

HMD Global, the “home of Nokia phones,” has raised $230 million in a “series A2” spherical of funding from a few of its current strategic companions, together with Google, Qualcomm, and Nokia shopper division Nokia Technologies, together with undisclosed traders. The Finnish firm pressured that this was the “first closing” of the spherical, suggesting extra funding could possibly be added at a later date.

A spokesperson additionally confirmed that HMD Global’s valuation has handed $1 billion. While Nokia not makes shopper units, the model remains to be synonymous with function telephones and smartphones, because of a licensing association with HMD Global, a enterprise car founded in 2015 primarily to design and market Nokia-branded cellphones, with Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile answerable for manufacturing.

HMD Global has since introduced a number of dozen Nokia telephones to market, from low-end primary handsets to top-of-the-line flagships sporting a number of Zeiss cameras.

Nokia 9 PureView

Above: Nokia 9 PureView sports activities 5 Zeiss lenses

Image Credit: Paul Sawers / VentureBeat

Just a few months again, HMD Global unveiled its first 5G gadget, although the Nokia 8.three has but to make it to market. With one other $230 million within the financial institution, HMD Global stated it’s now in a position to “accelerate” its mission to make 5G smartphones accessible to extra shoppers globally. This will contain growing extra alliances with U.S. carriers and constructing on current partnerships with Verizon, Cricket Wireless, and AT&T that kicked off final 12 months.

Backers

HMD Global raised $100 million in 2018 from Swiss VC agency Ginko Ventures, DMJ Asia Investment Opportunity, and Wonderful Stars, a subsidiary of FIH Mobile. The high-caliber nature of HMD Global’s newest roster of traders suggests the place the Nokia model might go from right here. And as Google reels from the U.S. embargo stopping Huawei from utilizing its cellular apps and providers, the corporate has a vested curiosity in pushing one other telephone maker up the ranks.

As a European firm, and the one remaining smartphone participant on the continent with any significant market share, HMD Global is much less more likely to get caught within the geopolitical crossfire between the U.S. and China. Last 12 months, HMD Global shifted its datacenter from Singapore to Finland, in partnership with Google Cloud, a transfer that can go a way towards allaying information privateness considerations.

HMD Global’s smartphone market share sits at someplace round 1%, in response to Counterpoint Research, rating it 13th amongst distributors on this planet. But it sports activities the acquainted Nokia model, and having main companions on board — together with Google, chip big Qualcomm, and U.S. carriers — means issues can change rapidly. Plus, Huawei and its sub-brand Honor will not enchantment to tens of millions of shoppers outdoors of China, given the restrictions they face, which doubtlessly opens a spot for a rival.

HMD Global’s ambitions stretch past the {hardware} realm. Earlier this 12 months, it launched a brand new SIM card known as HMD Connect that’s centered on roaming, and it snapped up the assets of cellular, enterprise, and cybersecurity software program firm Valona Labs. At the identical time, HMD Global launched a brand new R&D “center of excellence” to develop software-based providers for Nokia units. This will embrace constructing new choices, reminiscent of distant gadget locking, cybersecurity, enterprise mobility administration, and — sooner or later — imaging and audio applied sciences.

In quick, HMD Global has fairly massive ambitions, and with Google and Qualcomm on board, the corporate is making a bid for severe consideration. Even if it isn’t going to make massive positive factors on the incumbents in North America and Europe, there may be nonetheless vital market share in play in “key growth markets” like Brazil, India, and elements of Africa.

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