HMD Global, maker of Nokia phones, gets $230 million investment

It seems the market for Nokia-inspired phones is a durable one, with three major telecoms players deciding to double-down on their investments.

The HMD Global press release published on its site only mentions ‘strategic partners’, but an earlier version that was sent to TechCrunch apparently named those partners as: Google, Qualcomm and Nokia itself. Hilariously, even CEO Florian Seiche thought they weren’t naming the investors prior to his briefing with TechCrunch, but was forced to confirm when questioned.

We don’t know the investment split, or to what extent the three companies already had a piece of the action, but they certainly make a heavyweight trio. Google owns the platform HMD’s smartphones run on, Qualcomm owns the chips and Nokia owns the industrial design, so this seems to be a fairly strong vote of confidence from companies with a significant interest in HMD’s success.

“Since the very beginning, HMD Global has worked to build strong bonds with our strategic partners,” said Seiche. “This additional investment further validates our long-term business strategy and is evidence of our collective mission to make modern mobile technology accessible to everyone.

“Security, reliability and dependability are the cornerstones of our offering and we will ensure we are using these funds to deliver the best experiences people have come to expect from a Nokia phone. As the only major European smartphone manufacturer, we remain true to our Finnish roots and the hallmarks that our customers trust Nokia phones to be synonymous with. With the support of our heavyweight partners, I am truly excited for the next chapter of Nokia phones.”

“Our unique business model, based on asset-light global deployment and strong partnerships with the best in the industry, is entering a new level of maturity with the valued support of some of the most influential market-makers in mobile devices,” said Jean-Francois Baril, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of HMD Global. “I am extremely proud of our significant achievements to date and also thrilled about the immense opportunity before us to accelerate our journey towards excellence.”

HMD started by making Nokia knock-off feature phones, even managing to steal the limelight at MWC2017 with one. Inevitably, however, it has evolved towards the lower-tier Android smartphone market. As TechCrunch observes, there is a delicious irony in Google investing in Nokia smartphones, when it did so much to destroy them a decade or so ago.

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