VentureBeat decided to jump the gun this weekend and post some news that has been floating around lately about a new Blackberry fund. They deleted the post from their blog, but it was still available in Google Reader and in other places and TechCrunch got to it late on Saturday.
The new fund is being managed by RBC Ventures, who just last week closed an investment in Toronto-Based Blackberry application Viigo, and JLA Ventures. RIM, maker of the Blackberry, is a limited partner in this fund, but is not involved in the day-to-day investment decisions.
The rumor mill has been churning away on this one for months here in Toronto. Originally the numbers we were hearing were $100 million, but as the weeks went by, people started to hint that things had heated up and there were partners involved up to $150 million. That number, $150M, turned out to be true.
Companies funded by the Blackberry Partners Fund do not have to be producing Blackberry applications yet. The press release says that the fund is “Agnostic to both stage and balance sheet, the BlackBerry Partners Fund will not restrict the development of mobile applications and services to any single mobile platform or any specific industry segment.”, which is all true, but only companies who have a Blackberry Application in their roadmap will be funded.
The fund will be will be announced at WES in Orlando tomorrow morning.
It is interesting to note that RBC Ventures recently funded another Balsillie company, Igloo Software with $4M. Jim Balsillie, the CEO of RIM, is on the Board of Directors of Igloo Software, who closed their financing last week.
In talking to Rick Segal, one of the partners at JLA Ventures, about this new fund he put it very plainly: The test will be in 6 months when we look at how many deals have actually gotten done.
Will this be another Java Fund? I certainly hope not, espcially for Canadian companies who have a chance to connect with some known VCs and tap in to a strong fund with great connections to the maker of the most popular Web, Email and Voice device out there.