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Intel kicks dough to cloud, analytics startups

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Intel Capital, the investment arm of the supplier of chips for most of the world's PCs and servers, is spreading around some of its vast wealth once again, trying to seed the applications that will ultimately drive its processor, chipset, and networking businesses.

The latest batch of dough that Intel Capital is investing in startups comes to over $24m, which is being shared by five companies that are getting their first fix of Intel cashish and two others who are coming back for. While Intel's backing doesn't ensure success in the software racket, Intel Capital, which has been around since 1991, has backed some pretty good horses, including Linux distributors Red Hat and SUSE, middleware maker JBoss (now part of Red Hat), database maker MySQL (part of Oracle these days), and Zend Technologies (amazingly, still not eaten).

Intel has invested over $10bn in 1,140 companies in those twenty years, with 191 of the companies going public and another 268 being acquired. Last year, Intel pumped $327m, in 119 different firms.

Revolution Analytics, which has commercialized the open source R statistical analysis programming language and goosed it with closed source extensions, came out of stealth mode in May 2010, but Intel kicked in an unspecified amount of Series A funding two years earlier, which was followed up with a $9m second round from Intel Capital and North Bridge Venture Partners in October 2009.

This second round was extended with another $8.6m a year later, and now Intel Capital is putting yet more money into the R specialists. Intel and did not specify how much money it invested in Revolution Analytics this time around and did not return calls for details at press time.

Gaikai, a cloud gaming company that streams 3D video games to Web browsers, also got some Intel cash. Back in July, Gaikai raised $30m in its third round of funding (which Intel participated in and is announcing today), bringing its total haul to $45m. Benchmark Capital is also an investor.

New to the Intel largesse are: DynamicOps, a maker of cloud automation tools; Guavus, which has created real-time analytics for service providers; IP Commerce, which peddles a platform as a service for e-commerce; Swrve New Media, which does social game analytics to help game coders make those games more interesting; and enLighted, which has created software to manage building lighting. ®

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