Dash gets more VC cash

Dash Navigation, the Mountain View-based startup that has been working on an Internet-enabled car navigation GPS device for over three years, has raised more money to get its product to market this Fall. The company says it has added another $25 million in a Series B round, bringing the company’s total funds raised to $42 million.

Dash says Crescendo Ventures led the round and new investors Artis Capital, ZenShin Capital Partners and Gold Hill Capital participated, as well as existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Sequoia Capital and Skymoon Ventures.

The new cash infusion is going to come in handy for the company which views itself as a consumer electronics start-up and will need to spend big cash to establish a toehold in the market.

Such companies are expensive undertakings, particularly ones that plan to sell a high-end device for between $600 to $800. Silicon Valley’s track record (if you don’t include Apple’s iPod) has been quite mixed. The company is entering a GPS navigation market that is getting more and more commoditized. Mobile handset makers are starting to include GPS navigation capabilities into their handsets in anticipation of the worldwide 3G rollouts — those phones, of course, already have the benefit of wireless broadband.

The company told us a little more about the product than we had previously known. The startup plans to sell the device through “standard big box retailers” starting in the Fall. The device itself connects to the Internet over cellular, “GPRS”, as well as Wi-Fi networks. The company is also working with an unnamed MVNO (runs over a GSM network), from which they will buy data access. The price of the subscription, including the network connection, will be $12 to $14 and will give consumers the ability to tap into the cellular and Wi-Fi data networks.

Since data over the cellular is more expensive (for the company) and slower than the data over Wi-Fi, the device will run over a Wi-Fi network when there is one available like next to your house, your work, or in the unlikely chance there is a metro area Wi-Fi network nearby. The device will wait for Wi-Fi to move large data like software upgrades.

GPRS itself is pretty slow when it comes to wireless data, so it seems like the device won’t necessarily deliver a broadband-style experience when running over cellular, but things like traffic updates and movie times don’t necessarily need a 3G experience. We’re looking forward to another test drive of the up-to-date product, now that the device and service are a little closer to market.

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