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Intel spreads $40 million investment love to 10 companies

From Silicon Valley to Bollywood

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Intel Capital has announced $40m worth of investment in 10 companies headquartered from Silicon Valley to Shanghai.

"The globe is our oyster," Intel Capital president Arvind Sodhani said in a webcast from his investment group's 13th annual Global Summit in Huntington Beach, California, where the announcements were made.

From Sodhani's point of view, Intel Capital has advantages over traditional investment funds in that it can be a "very patient investor," not swayed by the need to make high profits in short amounts of time – although he emphasized that "we expect very high rates of return from our investments." Eventually.

Since his group can be patient and focused on the long term, Sodhani said, "We are able to invest and help our companies be successful, and not be in a rush to get in, get out, which tends to be the case if you have the pressure of a fund – particularly if your fund is at the tail end of its fund, and there is a lot of pressure on fund managers to get an exit."

Of course, Intel Capital also has a strategic goal, as well: to get the world to buy more Intel chips. Although he gave a nod to promoting entrepreneurship and innovation, Sodhani made the bottom line clear. "Our overall goal," he said, "is to increase the utilization of microprocessors in the client, in the servers."

He explained that the 10 companies in Tuesday's announcement each support that strategic goal. They are, in alphabetical order:

  • Box of Los Altos, California, a content-sharing platform for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone, and the web, with 11 million users and 125,000 businesses;
  • FocalTech of Hsinchu, Taiwan, an integrated circuit design house specializing in touch panel controllers (investment still subject to closing);
  • Hungama of Mumbai, India, which self-identifies as that country's leading on-demand digital-entertainment company, with 20 million users accessing over 5,000 Bollywood, Hollywood, and other content from TVs, PCs, and mobile devices;
  • Jelli of San Mateo, California, a "social radio platform" for iOS, Android, and the web, which provides ad serving and what it calls "unique insights for advertisers;"
  • LIFO Interactive of Seoul, Korea, a social game developer whose Train City had 8 million Facebook users last year, and who has games in development for iOS, Android, and Windows 8;
  • NewAer of Los Angeles, California, which uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC technology to automate location-based app actions such as, for example, dropping a map pin on an Android map app when you park your car;
  • PagPop of São Paulo, Brazil, a secure online-payment platform operator that works with landline phones, smartphones, feature phones, and PCs;
  • Tier 3 of Bellevue, Washington, a cloud-based platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider;
  • Transmension of Shanghai, China, a gaming-service provider that delivers content to TVs via IPTV and cable to "millions of families;" and
  • UUCun, also of Shanghai, China, a mobile internet ad platform installed in 20 million smartphones just this year, which is expanding into mobile payments and mobile gaming.

Although Sodhani dodged questions about what parts of the world Intel Capital sees as the most dynamic geographies for investment, it's clear from the list that Silicon Valley is facing competition from the developing economies in the Far East, India, and Brazil.

Still, Sodhani emphasized that Intel Capital has a presence in a broad range of countries and economies, including the Czech Republic, Spain, Ghana, Poland, Russia, Turkey, and "obviously people in London."

Intel's investment arm has a physical presence in 26 countries making investments in over 50 countries – so if you're an innovative entrepreneur anywhere from Afghaninstan to Zimbabwe, drop Sodhani a note. If you can help sell Intel chips and provide "very high rates of return," we're sure he'll lend you an ear. ®

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