Boston-area Mobile Investments Spike to $215 Million in First Quarter

Investors put $215 million into mobile technology companies in the Boston area in the first quarter of 2009, according to figures released today by Mobile Monday Boston, the local chapter of the global association for mobile professionals. That’s the largest amount raised by the mobile sector in the last five quarters, and it went to 11 companies.

“Despite reports of widespread venture capital decline, mobile investment in Massachusetts is still on the rise,” Mobile Monday Boston co-founder and organizer Kate Imbach said in a statement. “Boston is quickly establishing itself as the worldwide hub of mobile and wireless.”

The lion’s share of the funds raised came in the form of a $175 million sale of 17.4 million shares of stock by Nuance Communications (NASDAQ: NUAN) of Burlington, MA. Companies that raised venture funds in the quarter included Quantia Communications (Newton, MA, amount undisclosed), Onset Technology (Waltham, MA, $3 million), Vela Systems (Burlington, MA, $550,000), Quattro Wireless (Waltham, MA, $10 million), Extreme Reach (Needham, MA, $1.5 million), Black Duck (Waltham, MA, $9.5 million), Mintera (Acton, MA, $390,000), Everyday Solutions (Concord, MA, $500,000), Ember (Boston, $8 million), and MedAptus (Boston, $6 million).

Here’s a chart from Mobile Monday Boston illustrating quarterly mobile investments in the region:

Boston-area mobile industry investments by quarter

Wade Roush is a freelance science and technology journalist and the producer and host of the podcast Soonish. Follow @soonishpodcast

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3 responses to “Boston-area Mobile Investments Spike to $215 Million in First Quarter”

  1. In all due respect, including Nuance’s financing in a tally of Boston-based mobile investment activity is bordeline ludicrous and misrepresents the reality of the local investment climate. While I’m not disputing the claim that “Boston is quickly establishing itself as the worldwide hub of mobile and wireless”, I suggest you look elsewhere for substantiation. It sounds like the “real” investment number is more like $40m.

  2. David – Yes, VC funding for Q1 was around $40 million and the Nuance investment kicks up the total. When we publish our investment reports, we always refer to overall investment (acquisition dollars, IPO, VC, etc.) in Boston’s mobile companies. That is the most accurate way to capture activity in the region. Click here to see our 2008 numbers.

    – Kate Imbach
    Mobile Monday Boston

  3. I agree with David. I think a better gauge of how Boston (or New England) is doing going forward is what has happened at seed stage over time. VC investments in later stage firms have been increasing at the expense of early stage ventures since the dotcom bubble burst. These data have been widely reported on a national level in the wireless realm by DowJones VentureSource and by Rutberg & Co. for a number of years. As an early stage venture manager, I’ll cheer when I see a sustained trend in wireless seed stage investment in Boston/New England.