Red Bend Downloads $10 Million Update
Today’s mobile phones have so much processing power that they are, in effect, little personal computers—and as with PCs, the software that makes them powerful is continually evolving, even after each handset leaves the factory. So it’s important to have a way of updating both the applications on mobile phones and the “firmware” underlying them (that’s the gadget industry’s term for a device’s embedded operating system). Three companies sell systems that update mobile firmware over the air, and today one of them, Waltham, MA-based Red Bend Software, announced a $10 million venture cash infusion.
The fifth-round investment, which brings the company’s total venture pot to $32.5 million, was led by Coral Capital Management of Minneapolis and included Waltham’s Greylock Partners, Pitango Venture Capital and Poalim Ventures (both based in Israel), and Infinity, a Chinese-Israeli equity fund.
Red Bed’s firmware over-the-air (FOTA) software keeps the update process fast by compressing software update files so that only the new or altered portions of a program are transmitted. It’s used by many of the big handset manufacturers, including LG Electronics, Motorola, NEC, Sharp, and Sony Ericsson. The company, founded in 1999, said it plans to use the new funds to add sales and marketing staff and extend its FOTA technology to other devices such as broadband wireless cards for PCs.
Red Bend’s biggest competitors are
San MateoSunnyvale, CA-based Innopath and Laguna Niguel, CA-based Bitfone, which was acquired last year by Hewlett-Packard. But it leads the market, supplying software updates to 49 percent of all FOTA-capable phones.