Motorola Solutions Backs Fixmo in Bet on Better Security

Motorola Solutions Inc. (MSI), the U.S. maker of walkie-talkies and radio-tracking scanners, is investing in software developer Fixmo Inc., which works with the U.S. National Security Agency, to bolster device safety.

The spending will be in the typical range of $1 million to $5 million and funded through Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, said Tony Palcheck, managing director of the unit. The Schaumburg, Illinois-based company aims to work Fixmo’s expertise into its equipment and is open to increasing its investment should that be sought, he said.

“We’re looking to make both a strategic and financial return and understand that sometimes we need to play in subsequent rounds,” Palcheck said in a telephone interview.

Toronto-based Fixmo, which raised $23 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and other investors in November, worked with the NSA to develop the technology behind its Sentinel and SafeZone software. The programs allow companies and government agencies to control how data is shared on employee smartphones and tablets and strengthen protection against harmful software.

With more sensitive information being transmitted across broadband emergency networks on Motorola devices, “the opportunity for more data getting into the wrong hands increases and this is a solution that prevents that,” Palcheck said. “We have multiple places within our business units where we think the Fixmo technology and solutions fit.”

Phones and tablets are increasingly based on Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android operating system, which accounted for 68 percent of all smartphones worldwide in the second quarter, according to researcher IDC. Motorola Solutions plans to introduce more Android tablets later this year, Chief Executive Officer Greg Brown said last month.

The rising popularity of Android creates growth opportunities for Fixmo particularly, given the software can be customized relatively easily by device makers, said Tyler Lessard, Fixmo’s chief marketing officer.

“We see the Android side as a significant linchpin of the business,” Lessard said in an interview.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hugo Miller in Toronto at hugomiller@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net

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