Sun Shines on $100M for Wireless –

PALO ALTO, Calif. – If corporations are beginning to scale back their venture capital programs, no one bothered to tell Sun Microsystems Inc.

The Internet computing giant announced last month that it was plugging an extra $100 million into its investment group to enable expanded early-stage wireless efforts. It is important to note, however, that this new capital is not taking the form of a separate venture vehicle. Instead, it is simply being added to a strategic financing pool that is currently being drained at a clip of $500 million per year.

“We originally put together a group to focus exclusively on venture capital and it was earmarked with $200 million,” said Brian Sutphin, vice president of strategic investments with Sun Microsystems. “We’ve now obviously exceeded that original figure and made a lot of wireless investments, but the deal flow pace in that area has increased, as has [Sun Microsystems’] interest in innovative wireless


Prior to the new funding, the firm made recent investments in Internet accessibility enabler Everypath, wireless communications technology developer Gravitron, real-time locating system designer WhereNet and voice interlace software developer Nuance.

According to the announcement – which also detailed some of Sun Microsystems’ other wireless efforts – future wireless investment areas may include security, location devices and streaming video to handheld devices.