Vesta Group Launches $300M Fund –

BASINGSTROKE, U.K. – The Vesta Group has launched a new company along with its own fund. The company, Vesta Wireless Works, and its $300 million targeted fund has already been raised in part by the Vesta Group from private and institutional investors.

Chris Jackson will serve as the company’s chief executive officer and Ken Blakeslee will serve as chairman.

Jackson expects to build his team to seven or eight more people. “All of these people will come from outside the [Vesta] group and will have had wireless experience, so there’s not many [people] to choose from,” he says.

Jackson himself is a former vice president and general manager for wireless Internet at Motorola and former head of group strategy at Nokia. Blakeslee was previously with Nortel Networks where he was vice president for wireless Internet strategy. Blakeslee spent 28 years with Nortel Networks, the last 17 of them in the U.K.

Both Blakeslee and Jackson will, in addition to their roles at Vesta Wireless Works, act as principal advisors on wireless Internet and mobility deals for the Vesta Group, the e-Start launch network and Vesta Capital Partners.

Vesta Wireless Works is the third string to the Vesta Group’s European technology investment business. Vesta Group already owns the Internet accelerator/incubator e-Start and venture capital firm Vesta Capital Partners.

Co-investments that come to the Vesta Group via the e-Start entrepreneur community are taken up by e-Start’s sister company, Vesta Capital Partners. The Vesta Group is owned by the Khemka family through SUN Technology Ltd., which was set up in the mid 1980s.

Vesta Wireless Works will be based in Basingstoke, U.K. Jackson describes Basingstoke as the epicenter of the wireless triangle that encompasses London, Bristol, and Farnborough/Guildford, noting that the likes of Cellnet, Ericsson, Nokia, Orange and Vodaphone are to be found in within that area.

On a day-to-day level Vesta Wireless Works will, says Jackson, draw on the synergies in its sister companies and will invest by identifying gaps in the market and then the personnel to develop the idea from drawing board to a live company.

Business generation will also be sought via corporate venturing arrangements with existing mobile players or U.S.-based companies seeking to enter the European wireless market.

“There is a stark contrast between the vast number of services available on the Internet and the very few that are currently available on mobile devices. [Vesta Wireless Works’] aim is to fill that gap,” said Blakeslee.