Vivato Garners Intel Backing

By Eric Griffith

March 10, 2003

The Intel Communications Fund, which last year pledged to deliver $150 million in funding to 802.11 related startups, has announced backing for Vivato, Pronto, and others.

The Intel Communications Fund, which last year pledged to deliver $150 million in funding to 802.11 related startups, has announced it is providing backing capital to four companies.

Chief among them is Vivato, which recently began sampling its 2.4 GHz Indoor Wi-Fi Switch, an $8,995 wall-mountable, flat-panel unit that will provide coverage for up to 150 802.11b clients in its 300 meter range, negating the need for deploying several access points. Vivato also says the two companies will "participate in joint marketing activities."

Coupled with other investments, this brings Vivato's total investment to $29 million.

The fund has also announced investment in other Wi-Fi hotspot related companies: rovingIP.net, which makes Wi-Fi roaming solutions for broadband service providers and hotspot operators; Pronto Networks, which makes hotspot controllers (Pronto announced this news in January); and Broadreach Networks, which makes wireless and wired Internet access kiosks for public use under the ReadytoSurf brand (Broadreach announced the investment last month).

Previous investments by the fund have included STSN, which is rolling out Wi-Fi in hotels, and Telesym, which is developing PocketPC-based VoIP phones;

The Intel Communications Fund is managed by Intel Capital, the branch of the chip maker behind helping fund the Cometa Networks launch. Other Cometa partners include IBM and AT&T.

The chip side of Intel will be releasing the Centrino Mobile Platform later this week to much hoopla, with events planned in several major cities and a multi-million dollar "Unwire" ad campaign that will push Centrino's compatibility with Wi-Fi hotspots. Centrino will be a mix of an Pentium 4-M processor with embedded 802.11b networking. To further push Centrino (and mindshare in Wi-Fi to get more people to buy laptops with Centrino), Intel is also in co-marketing deals with several major hotspot vendors and hotels, including Toshiba Computer Systems Group, which recently began shipping its own low-cost turnkey hotspot hardware.



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