HMD Global, maker of Nokia Android smartphones, raises $230 million from Google, Qualcomm, and others
Finnish company HMD Global released its first Android smartphone in early 2017, the Nokia 6. Since then, the Nokia licensee has sold tens of millions of Android smartphones (and millions more feature phones), according to data collected by research firm Counterpoint Research. HMD Global’s smartphone business has seen success largely thanks to the power of the Nokia brand and the company’s strategy of selling many different smartphones across the budget and mid-range price spectrum. Now, the company has announced that it has raised $230 million in funding from some of its top global strategic partners, which includes Google, Qualcomm, and Nokia, as reported by VentureBeat.
In a press release published today, HMD Global announced that it intends to use the funding to expand its 5G smartphone business, transition to “digital-first” offerings in light of the increased number of people staying at home due to COVID-19, grow its presence in key markets like Brazil, Africa, and India, and strengthen its mobile service business.
HMD Global’s smartphones are designed by the company and manufactured by FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn. The company ships a near stock version of Android on its smartphones and promises 3 years of monthly Android security patch updates and 2 years of Android OS upgrades under Google’s Android One program. The company uses SoCs from both MediaTek and Qualcomm in its smartphones, though the company’s first 5G-enabled smartphone, the Nokia 8.3, features Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 765G. The Nokia 8.3 was announced back in March and is launching in the U.S. this fall for an undisclosed price. With its new funding, HMD Global plans to increase its presence in the U.S. market in addition to Brazil, Africa, and India. And since HMD Global is a European company, they’re largely insulated from the escalating trade war between the U.S. and China, meaning they’re positioned nicely to swoop in where other Chinese smartphone makers may be forced to cut back.
HMD Global’s plans extend beyond smartphones, too. Earlier this year, the company launched HMD Connect, a SIM card with global data roaming. They also acquired the assets of Valona Labs, a mobile, enterprise, and cybersecurity software company, and launched a new “Centre of Excellence” in Finland to transition the company to a combined hardware and services company. The company faces tough competition from Chinese device makers, but this recent round of funding shows that investors are confident in the future of HMD Global’s phone business.