Intel Unveils $100 Million AppFund To Finance Application, Digital Content Development


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Intel Capital, the global investment and M&A branch of Intel, announced Tuesday a $100 million Intel Capital AppUp Fund, kick-starting a string of investments the chipmaker will make in software companies that develop apps and digital content for mobile devices and PCs.

The fund is intended to advance application development on Intel-based architecture in areas including digital media consumption and context-aware computing. While investments will be made across a variety of technologies and devices, cross-platform technologies, such as HTML5, and developments specifically geared toward ultrabooks will be a primary focus, Intel Capital said.

Funded apps will be available through Intel’s AppUp center for consumer laptops and ultrabooks.

Lisa Lambert, vice president, Intel Capital and managing director of the software and services sector, outlined three primary goals of the Intel Capital AppUp Fund. "There are three sets of capabilities we are trying to build out," Lambert told CRN. "The first is the AppUp store itself."

The fund was built to ensure that Intel OEMS, partners and telecom providers have a broad, rich selection of content to choose from within the AppUp center when rolling out their own app stores, Lambert said.

The second aim of the fund is to enable ISVs using the AppUp store to monetize their applications through features, including mobile payment, mapping, and notification solutions.

The final goal of the fund, Lambert said, was to build out the AppUp center infrastructure through recommendation and analytic engines.

"We’re investing very aggressively in those areas, including content, traditional applications, infrastructure and middleware, and various other components," Lambert said.

Not wasting any time, Intel Capital has already announced its investment in two software companies as part of the initiative.

The first was in Urban Airship, a Portland, Oreg.-based mobile platform-as-a-service company. Urban Airship’s platforms are intended to boost the effectiveness of mobile marketing and increase app revenue streams through features, including push notifications and in-app purchasing.

The second investment made was in 4tiitoo, a German OSV and tablet device developer, specializing in open-source-based software solutions.

In addition to Urban Airship and 4tiitoo, Intel Capital has announced its plans to invest in 10 other companies world-wide. These companies include India’s Happiest Minds Technologies and TELiBrahma; China’s Outblaze Venture Holdings, Miartech and MakePolo.com; South Korea’s Neosem; Taiwan’s SNSplus and Insyde Software; and Japan’s OneBe and G-cluster.

In total, Intel Capital has announced $45 million in new investments, but did not specify the individual investments made in each firm.

While significant, Intel Capital AppUp Fund isn’t the first time the chipmaker has shown an interest in software. Last year, Intel acquired security software developer MacAfee, for $7.8 billion. The acquisition was part of Intel’s overarching strategy to broaden its security presence, particularly within the mobile device space.

While security will remain a focal point of Intel’s investment strategy, it won’t be a big player within the Intel Capital AppUp Fund.

"The AppUp fund is all about enabling a user experience on a broad range of Intel-based devices. So there is a security element to that as well," Lambert said. "Not only does the experience need to be compelling across the device -- whether you’re on your tablet, phone, ultrabook or PC -- it needs to be secure as well. But, for the purposes of the AppUp fund, we are all about creating a great user experience."

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