The new venture capital arm of Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) is still smaller than most startups, but the group's investment focus will be a good indicator of the carrier's business focus in the coming year.
Mobile security will be a key area of focus for Sprint Ventures, currently a four-person group in Overland Park, Kan. "It's a hot area that all carriers in the space need to focus on," says Scott Ford, general manager at Sprint Ventures, who recently received a Kauffman fellowship from The Center for Venture Education. "Because the transmission of data is becoming more sophisticated and faster, it's important to make sure the information is secure."
"Sprint sells the quality of the network and they have a pretty big base of enterprise users," says Iain Gillott, founder and principal of iGillott Research Inc. "If viruses get into the network then they're toast."
Other areas of focus for Sprint Ventures will include mobile entertainment, mobile commerce and advertising, fixed/mobile convergence, and "any opportunities where companies can bridge wireless and our joint ventures with cable partners," Ford says.
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Carmen Nobel, Senior Editor, Light Reading