Heating Up the Digital Home –

Some companies and venture investors will not sit still waiting for consumer demand to catch up to digital technology. Intel is taking the upper hand in getting more of its devices into the home and is willing to spend millions to do it.

This past January, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker announced the $200 million Digital Home Fund to “invest in the ecosystem to drive demand for products.”

The fund is spearheaded by Curt Nichols, a VP of Intel Capital and director of Digital Home Investments.

Intel is targeting new investments in wireless transmission technologies, 802.11, ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, software to manage home networks and transcribe digital files from one format to another, as well as hardware, operating systems and services.

It has already made several investments from the fund and expects another flurry of deals to be announced by the end of the year. Its investments include the following:

* Digital 5, a Lawrenceville, N.J.-based developer of software to connect consumer electronic devices. It closed on $8.4 million in funding led by Blue Chip Venture Co. and including previous investors 3i, Philips Venture Capital Fund BV and SpaceVest.

* Staccato Communications, a San Diego-based developer of UWB wireless products and services that raised a $20 million Series B round of funding. InterWest Partners was also a new investor in the company and was joined by previous investors Allegis Capital, Bay Partners and Charles River Ventures.

* Trymedia Systems, a San Francisco-based secure distribution technology and services company. Intel led the Series B round, the size of which has not been disclosed.

* Wisair, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based company that makes UWB chipsets and services. It raised a $15.7 million Series B round led by Apax Partners. Its other backers are Bynet Ventures, NTT Leasing, RAD Ventures, Tamar Ventures, Vertex and individuals.