German giant Siemens has set up a venture capital fund to invest in Silicon Valley communications startups.
Siemens' public networks group has set aside $300 million to fund new companies over the next three years. Technologies targeted include IP networking; optical, wireless and broadband access; plus telecomms software.
"Big, smart vendors are developing capabilities to work with startup companies," said Peter Morris, general partner at New Enterprise Associates, one of the Valley's oldest venture capitalist companies. "One of the tools of an overall initiative is to get close to the intellectual property by investing early."
Besides cash, startups can take advantage of Siemens? global reach. More than half of the revenues from communications companies are from outside the US so the Siemens' distribution channels should also appeal.
Siemens joins rivals Nokia and Lucent in creating investment funds to ensure they get first pickings of breakthrough technology.
The German giant?s investment unit will be called Mustang Fund. "Mustang gives the feeling of fast, fleet-footed and swift," said spokesman Emory Epperson. The company is establishing a six-person team - three in Silicon Valley and three in Munich - to run the fund.
Epperson said the company would also consider acquiring startups.
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