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Nokia Ventures rebrands, plans new fund

The venture capital arm of Finnish mobile phone manufacturer Nokia has changed its name to BlueRun Ventures and announced a first close of its third venture fund on $350m.

Nokia Venture Partners has changed its name to BlueRun Ventures and held a first closing of its third venture fund.

The fund has a final target of $350 million (€274 million) and is expected to hold a final close in the first half of 2005, according to a press release.

Despite the name change, BlueRun will continue its relationship with Nokia Corporation, which continues as a limited partner in the new fund.

The new fund will continue to make early stage investments in the IT, mobile and consumer electronics markets. The fund will invest predominantly in Series A and B rounds, committing between $2 million and $8 million to start-ups in the US, Asia and Europe, including Israel.

Nokia Venture Partners was launched in 1998. If the new fund reaches its target, the group will manage funds of approximately $1 billion. The firm has invested in companies including Paypal, the online payment service now owned by eBay and online gaming company Pogo.com, which was bought by Electronic Arts in 2001.

BlueRun is headquartered in Menlo Park, California and has additional offices in Helsinki, London, New Delhi, Seoul, Beijing, Tokyo and Washington, D.C.

News of the fundraising comes shortly after the close of one of the largest European venture funds ever raised. On Monday, Paris-headquartered Sofinnova Partners announced the final close of its fifth early stage fund on €385 million.