AirPrime wins new funding


CDMA solutions provider AirPrime has completed a USD 6.2 million funding round. The capital was provided by a consortium led by Omninet Capital and including Liberty View Equity Partners, Nova Ventures, Parker Price Venture Capital, Qualcomm, Quantum Technology Partners, RBC Capital Partners Telecom Fund, RBC Ventures and TechHarvest Group.

AirPrime manufactures embedded CDMA modules for devices such as the Handspring Treo. Its Helium module supports CDMA2000 1x for voice and data transfer up to 153 Kbs. The company plans to use the funding to develop and bring to market new products, including CDMA2000 1x EV-DO PC cards, which support data rates up to 2 Mbs. EV-DO networks have already been deployed in South Korea and are being planned for North American markets.

“Our ability to raise capital in these difficult market conditions demonstrates investor confidence in our CDMA market leadership position,” said Jim Kirkpatrick, president of AirPrime Inc. “This additional investment enables us to build on our leadership position in wireless PC cards and embedded modules at a time when OEMs and service providers are just beginning to provision advanced wireless data applications and services to the mass market.” Craig Enenstein, chief investment officer for Omninet Capital, added: “AirPrime is already recognised by the nation’s top wireless service providers as the CDMA2000 1x technology leader and this financing round will advance that position at a critical time in the technology’s adoption. We are very pleased with the quality of the development team and overall leadership of the company. AirPrime is generating significant revenue today and has an exciting product roll-out schedule for the balance of this year.”

Insight

AirPrime has shown itself to be a first mover in the market for CDMA2000 1x modules. It delivered the technology for Sprint’s Digital Link attachment for the Handspring Visor some months ahead of other vendors. It has continued to work with Handspring and Sprint, supplying components for the Treo 300, Handspring’s colour communicator which is available exclusively through Sprint.

AirPrime’s operational performance aside, CDMA2000 1x technology is becoming an increasingly attractive area for investors. The early adoption of the technology and its strong growth in markets such as South Korea, Japan and, latterly, the US, has provided investors with a more attractive option for betting on the future of wireless data than W-CDMA. Qualcomm, pioneer of CDMA, has been a solid role model, using its cash to invest in building a global community of CDMA suppliers, developers and networks.


Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.
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