Nokia Plans $250 Million Venture Fund Amid Cash Focus

Nokia Oyj, the struggling Finnish phonemaker, plans to invest $250 million in a fund that will provide venture funding for mobile communications companies worldwide, with an increased focus on China.

Nokia Growth Partners, the venture-capital arm of Nokia, will continue to invest in companies in the U.S., Europe and Asia, Espoo, Finland-based Nokia said today in a statement. This is the third fund for Nokia Growth Partners.

The manufacturer is seeking to spur demand for its Lumia smartphones, which run Microsoft Corp.’s Windows Phone operating system and compete against Apple Inc.’s iPhone and devices running Google Inc.’s Android software. Last week, Nokia reported its seventh straight drop in quarterly revenue and skipped annual dividend for the first time in at least 143 years to help it retain cash to fuel a comeback.

David Tang, who previously was vice chairman of Nokia China, will join Nokia Growth Partners as a managing director, while Lu Guo joins from Keystone Ventures, where he was responsible for mobile and Internet investments. Both will be based in Beijing, according to the statement.

Last year, Nokia’s venture capital business led a $10.7-million investment round in Luminate Inc., a Mountain View, California-based company that makes software that links images to information on the Internet. The fund also invested in Voddler, a Stockholm-based video-on-demand service, in 2011.

Nokia shares rose 1 percent to 3.14 euros at 12:47 p.m. in Helsinki. They’ve declined for the past five years, dropping 22 percent in 2012.

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