Intel Capital, the chip giant's investment arm, has announced new deals with a total value of $77 million, giving a clue as to the technologies the company feels are going to be the next big things.
The deals, announced at the company's eleventh annual Capital CEO Summit, were introduced by Intel Capital president Arvind Sodhani with the claim that 'the technology developed by these companies supports the compute continuum from advancements in PCs and server trends, such as cloud computing, to building out the ecosystem around smart TVs and smartphones.
One of the biggest deals was with solid-state storage specialist Anobit Technologies, with Intel Capital sinking $32 million in the Israeli start-up to help the company develop its ultra-reliable multi-level cell NAND flash, which it claims can offer the same lifespan as single-level cell SSDs in a fraction of the cost for enterprises on a budget.
Bangalore-based Althea Systems, a start-up specialising in online video services, walked away with $3 million of Intel Capital funds, while IPTV specialist Verismo Networks is thought to have gained the bulk of its $17 million total funding from Intel. The focus on Internet-borne TV, possibly as a driving force for Intel's Atom processors in set-top boxes and other embedded devices, continued with the investment of an unconfirmed sum in video advertising specialist YuMe and IPTV provider Select-TV.
Portable power company Liliputian Systems, which is working on a small USB charger for mobile devices containing silicon power cell technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, managed to score a double-whammy from the company: as well as an investment of cash from Intel Capital, the company has also entered into an agreement for Intel to manufacture the silicon wafers required in its fabrication facilities.
Speaking of the deal with Liliputian Systems, Brian Krzanich, head of Intel's manufacturing and supply chain business unit, declared his company to be 'pleased to work with such an exciting company with strong technology, an experienced team and blue chip investors and look forward to helping bring the Silicon Power Cell technology and the USB MPS product to market.
Further investments were announced in business lifecycle management firm Adaptivity, social media advertising start-up boo-box, Ukranian data-centre provider De Novo, network optimisation specialist IPTEGO, augmented reality company Layar, mobile video management firm Ortiva Wireless, fluid and gas modelling specialist Rock Flow Dynamics, software-as-a-service provider SilkRoad, fabless system-on-chip semiconductor specialist Taifatech, independent software vendor Videon Central, sales management software provider WinChannel, and food-centric semantic search site Yummly.com.
These latest deals bring Intel Capital's investments since 1991 to a staggering $9.7 billion, during which time 189 companies in its portfolio have gone public and 258 have been acquired or merged with larger firms.
Clearly, Intel is betting heavily in two areas: mobile and video. With the company's recent attempts to diversify its Atom processor line into embedded and smartphone markets, the investments make sense - but it's still going to be an uphill struggle to convince those markets to switch from rival ARM.
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