Seven VCs plan to swap notes on wireless internet

Seven venture capital funds have agreed to exchange information on wireless internet projects in order to promote the development of new businesses in the field.

But while the seven members of the Wireless Internet Venture Association have agreed to exchange information about possible wireless internet investment opportunities, they will not be pooling funds.

"It's fairly informal, and there are no investment funds in common… it could lead to co-investment," said François Scolan, a spokesperson for Innovacom, France Télécom SA's venture capital subsidiary and one of the seven funds involved in the association.

The other six members are Mobile Internet Capital, the venture capital subsidiary of Japanese mobile phone operator NTT Mobile Communications Network (NTT DoCoMo); the venture capital division of Finnish telecommunications network operator Sonera; Finanziaria Tecnologica SPA (Fintech), a joint venture between Italian telco Telecom Italia SpA and bank Mediocredito Centrale SpA; Ericsson Innova, the Spanish venture capital subsidiary of Ericsson; German venture capital company 3i-Technologieholding VC GmbH and ArtsAlliance, an Anglo-American venture-capital firm specializing in electronic commerce and internet content businesses.

The association will not favor one technology over others in selecting the projects for investment, Scolan said.

"There is no technical bias in the association (although) you could imagine that Ericsson might have one," he said, adding, "It's up to each company to decide (in which projects) it invests."

Two wireless internet infrastructure companies have already received funding from the 200 million euro ($A320 million) Innovacom fund, Scolan said, and "quite a few" others were under consideration.

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