Softbank, Others Bank on Nordic Wireless Incubator

STOCKHOLM (06/27/2000) - Startupfactory AB announced Tuesday that a group of investors, including Softbank Corp., have agreed to inject 500 million krona (US$56.3 million) into the Stockholm-based venture capital company specializing in nurturing wireless startups in the Nordic region.

Sweden-based investment company Investor AB and Carnegie Holding AB, an investment bank and asset management company, were the other two investors in the group, Startupfactory said in a statement.

The size of the individual investments made by the three companies was not available, but Softbank's investment in Startupfactory marked one of the first times the Tokyo-based company has opened the coffers to its recently established $550 million Europe Ventures fund.

Startupfactory is an early-stage investor that aims to help wireless and mobile communications startups in the Nordic region reach out to global markets. The company has offices in both Stockholm and Helsinki, as well as in Menlo Park, California.

Among Startupfactory's current portfolio of companies it is incubating is Picofun AB, a Stockholm-based startup developing games and entertainment applications based on WAP (wireless application protocol), a technology that allows wireless devices to access content over the Internet.

Formed in August 1999, Startupfactory said its founders included industry veterans such as Sven-Christer Nilsson, the former chief executive officer at Stockholm-based mobile phone network equipment supplier L.M. Ericsson Telephone Co., and Rolf Skoglund, who once served as vice president at software giant Microsoft Corp.

Startupfactory, in Stockholm, can be reached at +46-8-5455-3200 or via the Web at http://www.startupfactory.com/. Softbank, in Tokyo, is at http://www.softbank.co.jp/.

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