Developers and phone geeks look at Linux-based cell phones and see the promises of open source — Investors, on the other hand, see green. Venture buyout firm Garnett & Helfrich Capital said it is buying Linux mobile software company Celunite with an initial investment of $30 million
undisclosed sum. VentureWire put the price tag at $100 million over the next four years for the year-old company based in Sunnyvale, California. Garnett & Helfrich also previously funded Celunite with $30 million.
Update: Garnett & Helrich decided to disclose an initial investment of $30 million in the majority stake acquisition, which I thought was a prior round.
It’s an unusual buy for Garnett & Helfrich, which formerly purchased Ingres from Computer Associates and Blade Network Technologies from Nortel. But a spokesperson said the purchase was based on the growing market for Linux-based mobile software and the search for an alternative to Symbian.
The demand for an open platform for mobile devices is growing as hardware makers and developers look for alternatives to Symbian and Microsoft, and find Linux can provide a cheaper faster way to bring devices to market. Motorola said earlier this year that the company hopes to have more than half of its new cell phone models running Linux over the next few years. Linux mobile software company Trolltech (of Greenphone fame) went public this July.