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Barksdale Group invests in wireless start-up

ViAir receives an $8 million investment from The Barksdale Group, marking the second wireless play by former Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale.

Wireless Web start-up ViAir today announced it has received an $8 million investment from The Barksdale Group, marking the second wireless play by former Netscape chief executive Jim Barksdale.

ViAir, a services company that helps build wireless-accessible Web sites, joins Tellme Networks, a phone service that allows people to get information off the Web, as part of The Barksdale Group's wireless investments.

The Barksdale Group, which has 10 companies in its portfolio with the addition of ViAir, concentrates on Internet applications and infrastructure investments. The group also counts broadband and wireless companies as extensions of the Net economy.

"ViAir is targeting a huge, untapped market at the crossroads where wireless meets the Web," Peter Currie, a Barksdale Group partner and ViAir board member, said in a statement.

He added that ViAir's management team contributed to his firm's decision to invest in the company.

Sung Rhee, ViAir's chief executive and president, is a former general manager of Microsoft's MSN Mobile project and Outlook Express. Justin Webb, ViAir's chief strategist, is a former executive vice president of Hansol PCS in Seoul, Korea. He also is a former vice president of data services for Sprint PCS.

Other angel investors in privately held ViAir include Mike Volpi, senior vice president of business development for Cisco Systems; Stratton Sclavos, VeriSign's chief executive; and Rob Guyton, co-founder of Inktomi.