Surprisingly there are still semiconductor companies getting funding out there, as Quantance, a chip maker proved Monday when it scored $11 million in third-round funding from TD Fund, Granite Ventures, InterWest Partners and DOCOMO Capital. This money will help it expand beyond the mobile market.
Quantance, a San Mateo, Calif.-based chip firm, has raised a $12 million second round of funding to build a component part that will make cell phone data reception better by boosting the signal the phone sends to the base station.
As consumers increasingly pick up smartphones rather than feature phones, carriers are investing more cash in startups in the hopes of making such devices more useful — and their networks more profitable. The uptick in carrier investments has been particularly pronounced over the last few months, as wireless operators try to boost data revenue and differentiate their services by getting access to new technology first.
Just this week Eventful, a location-based calendar service, announced a $10 million round that included money from Telefonica. In September, two firms announced deals with carrier participation: social calendaring service Zvents, which raised $24 million, some of it from AT&T, and femtocell systems maker Percello, which raised $12 million, including money from T-Mobile.
“In my opinion the operators are becoming a little more aggressive and the equipment folks are less aggressive, with less to spend on R&D,” said Matthew Fix, a principal at Vodafone Ventures, the investment arm of the UK network operator. “Carriers are more aggressive because there’s a lot of uncertainty around their business models.” Read More about Carriers Spend Billions on Networks and Millions to Dress Them Up