Intel Capital, the global investment arm of chipmaker Intel, has set up a $300 million Ultrabook Fund for its new, lightweight laptop range. The Ultrabook Fund will invest in start-ups developing hardware and software around user experiences, storage, battery life and slim component and platforms for the new category of devices by Intel â€“ Ultrabooks.
Ultrabooks are somewhere between laptops and Tablets in terms of dimensions and features. They are thinner (less than 0.8 inch in thickness), lighter and will be priced at mainstream rates (less than $1000). The investments by Ultrabook Fund will be continued over the next three-four years.
"Ultrabook devices are poised to be an important area of innovation in the $261 billion global computer industry," said Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital and Intel's executive vice-president. "The Intel Capital Ultrabook fund will focus on investing in companies building technologies that will help revolutionise the computing experience and morph today's mobile computers into the next must-have device."
Ultrabooks were announced at the Computex Taipei Exhibition, held in Taiwan in May, 2011.
Interestingly, Intel will come up with various launches, starting with its second-generation Intel Core processors. Notebooks and Ultrabooks based on these processors â€“ such as the Asus UX21 â€“ will be launched by the end of this year. Again, in the first half of 2012, Intel will release systems based on 'Ivy Bridge' processors which will bring improved power efficiency, smart visual performance, increased responsiveness and enhanced security. In 2013, Intel has planned the third step in the Ultrabook device progression with 'Haswell' processors, which will reduce power consumption to half.
Intel Capital invests in start-ups which function across hardware and software space, and provide services for enterprise, home, mobility, health, consumer Internet, semiconductor manufacturing and cleantech. In 2010, Intel Capital had invested $327 million in 119 companies. In India, it had set up a $250 million India Technology Fund back in December, 2005, and has portfolio companies such as the Noida-based Wortal Technologies that runs local events portal BuzzInTown, Pune-based Persistent Systems, Infrasoft Technologies (123greetings.com), KLG Systel and Multi Commodity Exchange. Its recent investments were in online travel agency Yatra Online Pvt Ltd, mobile VAS firm July Systems, online insurance retailer PolicyBazaar and healthcare technology firm Sudhir Srivastava Robotics Surgery Center Pvt Ltd. The India Technology Fund is now aggressively investing in consumer Internet, Cloud computing, education, information technology and other related services.
The technology start-up ecosystem in India has progressed over the past year with a steep rise in the number of Indian entrepreneurs launching ventures across online and mobile space. With the backing of the Ultrabook fund, entrepreneurs in hardware and embedded software development sectors may also find an opportunity to bring their innovations to the world and scale up.