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DCM Raises $100M Android Fund: Looking for Great Ideas

Full disclaimer: While I work for DCM, the views expressed in this blog are mine and mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my current (or past) employer, their employees, partners, clients, and portfolio companies.

If you follow the tech trades about Android as much as this “fandroid” does :-), you’ll have seen an announcement from leading venture capital fund DCM which I found extremely exciting:

MENLO PARK, Calif. – TOKYO, Japan – April 21, 2011

Today, leading Pacific Rim technology venture capital firm DCM announced the launch of the world’s first Android-focused fund (“AFund”). The A-Fund is a $100 million strategic investment initiative that will focus on startups developing compelling solutions taking advantage of Android’s rapid growth.
The A-Fund will be managed by DCM, an investor in early stage technology companies based in Silicon Valley, Beijing and Tokyo. Anchor investors include GREE Inc., Japan’s largest mobile gaming social network, and KDDI Corporation, Japan’s second largest mobile operator. Funding and support will also come from strategic partner Tencent, one of China’s largest integrated Internet services companies. DCM plans to announce additional partners in the A-Fund, including a leading US based semiconductor company, in the coming weeks.

“The rise of Android is a rare and massive opportunity – one that comes only once in a major tech cycle,” said David Chao, co-founder and general partner, DCM. “The A-Fund will seek out the most promising companies enhancing and extending the rich open Android ecosystem—in mobile and beyond – including applications, services, and enabling technologies.”

The A-Fund will create a strong network of top-tier startups and provide access to resources, relationships and business opportunities catered to the needs of Android related companies.  DCM and its corporate partners will provide the capital, global business expertise, business development support, and other value-add services needed to succeed in a rapidly evolving market.

Suffice to say, given my prior blog coverage on Android, it should come as no surprise that I think Android represents potentially one of the largest opportunities ever for entrepreneurs, consumers, and investors, particularly in three categories:

  • Because Android is open source and available for a wide range of device manufacturers, it is becoming one of the fastest growing and most prolific platform plays ever, especially overseas where cash-strapped consumers and hardware guys are turning to Android devices. In the same way that iPhone enabled guys like Evernote, Rovio, and Ngmoco to build sizable businesses, Android’s wide and international reach will create large opportunities for entrepreneurial mobile software and service companies.
  • Android’s greater openness relative to other platforms provides the opportunity for new types of software and services to be deployed that more closed platforms will not be able to enjoy, at least not in the short-term. That translates into my belief that the next BMC/VMWare/Oracle/Symantec/Adobe of mobile will most likely first build on a more open platform like Android.
  • Android is not just a software play – its more open nature lets it function as a hardware enabler too: manufacturers of tablets, TVs, set-top boxes, printers, appliances, cars, medical devices, and even more can benefit from Android as a way to reduce costs/time-to-market or as a way to add application functionality/a consumer-friendly user interface to their design. In the same way that Android helped build HTC into a giant, Android will enable a new generation of hardware and software/applications to run on that new hardware, helping to build “the next HTC.”

So, if you or someone you know has a great Android-related project or idea that fits into any of the categories above, feel free to shoot an email to <first initial-last name (no hyphen in between)>-at-dcm-dot-com. 🙂

For more coverage on DCM’s Android Fund, check out:

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  1. […] Benjamin Tseng  –  No Comments Tweet I mentioned before when discussing DCM’s Android Fund that Android is a truly global opportunity. While Nokia is probably praying that this is untrue, […]

  2. […] Helped my firm kick off our Android focused A-Fund […]

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