Dow Jones reported today that Vodafone, one of the largest wireless carriers in the world, has relocated its venture capital arm to Silicon Valley.
The newswire reported that while it is not a seismic shift for Vodafone’s venture investing, it signals a new desire to get a closer look at burgeoning technologies such as Web 2.0 software and digital home networking, according to Peters Suh, Vodafone Ventures’ president.
The word is that Suh moved to Walnut Creek, Calif. five months ago from Vodafone’s headquarters in Newbury, U.K.
Part of his mandate, Suh told Dow Jones, is to oversee a more “proactive” engagement by Vodafone Ventures with innovative start-ups and potential VC firm partners to help advance the parent company’s interests. While five of Vodafone Ventures’ investors remain in Europe, Suh said, two undisclosed individuals are now assisting him in scoping out the scene in California.
As mobile phones have developed to function like computers, Suh said Vodafone decided to look for start-ups with cutting-edge computing technology, rather than trying to build it in-house.
Suh cautioned against predicting a wave of new investments by Vodafone, which deals from a 100 million pound fund. Still, perhaps Suh will hop on a plane to the Northwest, where a number of new companies are emerging based on the area’s expertise in software and wireless.