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Java software maker Espial handed $12 million

The company, which makes software for handheld computers and other gadgets, receives $12 million in financing from venture capital firms Greylock and Invisible Hand.

Espial, a company that makes software for handheld computers and other gadgets, has received $12 million in financing from venture capital firms Greylock and Invisible Hand, the company said.

The Ottawa, Canada, company will use the funding to improve its software for wireless devices, digital television and other products. The company makes software such as Web browsers and email clients as well as programming tools to let companies customize the software for their own products.

Greylock general partner Charles Chi and Invisible Hand managing partner Pentti Kouri have joined Espial's board of directors, spokeswoman Angie Lynch said today.

Espial is a staunch supporter of Sun Microsystems' Java technology, software that theoretically lets a program run on any Java-enabled device. Through Java, Espial software runs on Windows CE from Microsoft and on portable operating systems from Wind River Systems, QNX Software Systems, Microware Systems and Be.

Espial's software is used in Virgin Entertainment's WebPlayer, Motorola's DigitalDNA products and Tadpole Technology's J-Slate.

Venture capitalists typically invest in a company during its early stages, after it's received seed funding but before it goes public. The higher a company's valuation, the less of a stake and therefore the less control of the company the venture capitalists get when they purchase company stock.

Greylock has invested in Red Hat, Phone.com, DoubleClick, NorthPoint Communications and Spyglass, an Espial competitor. Invisible Hand is a fund that invests in wireless and Internet devices.