Qualcomm Opens VC Shop In Korea

Korean conglomerate Hansol and San Diego-based wireless equipment maker Qualcomm Inc. recently announced a Korean investment vehicle capitalized at $60 million to fuel the growth of CDMA technology in Korea. CDMA, or code division multiple access digital wireless technology, is the wireless operating platform pioneered by Qualcomm.

“Going forward, with third-generation technology, it’s not if CDMA will happen, but when – sooner rather than later and as widely as possible,” said Jeff Jacobs, senior vice president of business development with Qualcomm.

Although Hansol will be administering the fund, Qualcomm eked out a majority limited partnership stake in the fund, putting in $30 million. The Small and Medium Business Administration of Korea and the Korean Teacher’s Pension Fund filled out the remaining limited partnership commitments.

Once the investment cycle begins, the fund will take $1 million to $3 million equity stakes in seed- to early-stage companies playing in the wireless Internet space. It will target Korean content and application developers, as well as infrastructure and device manufacturers.

“Korea has the largest deployment of CDMA technology in the world,” Jacobs said. “There’s a unique skill set in Korea, domain and marketing expertise.”

Although no deals have been completed to date, the fund – named Hansol i Ventures Co. Ltd. – is expected to announce its first investment within the next 60 days.
Carolina Braunschweig can be contacted at Story Feedback.