Hiptop maker gets $35 million injection

Start-up Danger nabs another $35 million in funding, which will be used to pull in new wireless carrier and hardware partners for its combo cell phone and PDA.

Richard Shim Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Richard Shim
writes about gadgets big and small.
Richard Shim
2 min read
Hiptop developer Danger collected another $35 million in funding, which the start-up says it will use to try to sign up new wireless carrier and hardware partners for its combination cell phone and Web-browsing handheld device.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company announced Monday that it has secured additional financing from Softbank Capital Partners and Meritech Capital Partners in its latest round, bringing its total so far to more than $77 million.

Danger will use the funding to grow the company so it can better handle the addition of any new cellular network customers for its flagship Hiptop device, said Hank Nothhaft, Danger's chairman and chief executive. It will also try to add hardware companies to its roster of partners, as it looks for additional ways of distributing its Hiptop software and services.

"We're concentrating on carriers, but we're also looking at alternative means of distribution," Nothhaft said in an interview with CNET News.com. He said that Danger has been exploring partnerships with consumer-electronics companies.

Danger currently has a partnership with wireless carrier T-Mobile (formerly known as VoiceStream) to distribute the Sidekick cellular device, which uses Danger's software and services. Sidekick is the brand name that T-Mobile is using to sell Hiptop, which Danger developed as a means of providing carriers with a complete package of hardware and software.

Nothhaft added that he would be "satisfied" with nabbing three carrier deals for Hiptop this year and would be "exceptionally happy" with five.

Danger, with 110 employees, has 25 percent of its previous funding available. The company believes it can be cash flow-positive and reach profitability without any more funding.

Softbank Capital Partners and Meritech Capital Partners contributed about half of the $35 million in financing announced Monday, with investors of previous rounds--Mobius Venture Capital, Redpoint Ventures and Venture Strategy Partners--making up the remainder.