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DCM seals $100 million for Android "A-Fund"

Along with a few other Chinese and Japanese corporations, DCM seeks to further drive Android dev

Financial trends and news by Ronny Kerr
April 21, 2011
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/1993

When it comes to the overall mobile market, Android might not have much compared to Apple. That said, it is still a vital platform for smartphones, both in the U.S. and around the world.

And it just got another impressive vote of confidence.

Venture capital firm DCM announced Thursday the launch of A-Fund, a $100 million investment fund to be focused entirely on startups developing for the Android platform.

Supporting DCM as lead investor in the fund are GREE Inc., operator of Japan’s largest mobile gaming social network, KDDI Corporation, Japan’s second largest mobile operator, and Tencent, the Chinese Internet company that most recently hit headlines for striking a partnership with Groupon. Additional partners, including “a leading US based semiconductor company,” are to be announced in the coming weeks.

The A-Fund appears to be modeled, in name and initiative, on two funds created in the past few years by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers: the iFund, for startups developing on the iOS platform, and the sFund, for startups developing on the Facebook platform.

Any region, any stage, any size--if you’re a startup or developer creating innovative products for the Android platform, DCM wants to talk to you.

Based out of Silicon Valley, Beijing and Tokyo, DCM invests in startups from many different sectors, including cleantech, communications, social and gaming. Recent investments include mobile social media platform Mig33, mobile and social game developer PlayFirst, and Android social gaming company Papaya Mobile.

Surprising many earlier this week (though maybe it shouldn’t have) was data from comScore that showed, despite Android’s untouchable lead in the smartphone market, Apple still wins overall in mobile. Apple accounts for 16.2 percent of the U.S. market versus Android’s 10.2 percent, according to the report. When you add up all those iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads, Apple’s platform reaches 37.9 million subscribers, 59 percent more than Android’s 23.8 million.

Still, you can’t take away Android’s impressive growth worldwide. Last we saw comprehensive numbers, Android was responsible for about a third of smartphone shipments worldwide, or 32.9 million out of a total 101.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2010. At the time, Google’s mobile platform was already held partly responsible for hemorrhaging Nokia smartphone sales, and things haven’t gotten any better for Symbian-based devices since.

Android’s only growing, and DCM (with friends) is going to be there supporting development.


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