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Vindigo to guide in $6.1 million

The provider of city guides for wireless devices is expected to announce that it has grabbed a $6.1 million investment. The latest round includes AOL Time Warner.

    Vindigo, a provider of city guides for wireless devices, is expected to announce Wednesday that it has landed $6.1 million in new financing from its existing backers as well as new investors AOL Time Warner Ventures and i-Hatch Ventures.

    Vindigo recently started charging for the version of its service that runs on Palm OS-based handhelds, setting the price of the formerly free service at $25 a year. The company also debuted a paid Pocket PC version last October.

    The new financing is similar in size to a $6.2 million investment round the company closed last July. The company also trimmed 5 jobs at that time, or 14 percent of its staff.

    "With this financing we are fully funded to profitability and beyond," Vindigo CEO Jason Devitt said in an interview. "It's new money in what is still a challenging environment."

    In October 1999, Vindigo raised $750,000 in seed funding, with an additional $9 million coming from institutional backers in April 2000. Its investors include General Atlantic Partners, JP Morgan Partners and Flatiron Partners.

    Vindigo, which initially focused on offering movie times and restaurant information for the Palm, now offers maps, museum listings, ATM locations and other information for handheld computers and cell phones.

    In a March interview, Devitt said the company hoped to be profitable by the first quarter of next year and said Vindigo planned to add a small amount of staff this year.

    Devitt said Tuesday that Vindigo recently hired a VP of marketing and is advertising for several other positions.

    The company has not said how many of the 500,000 people that used the free Palm service have converted to the paid version, but Devitt said sales of Vindigo 2.0 have exceeded the company's expectations. Devitt also noted that Vindigo 2.0 has been the top-selling Palm program on handheld-software site Handango.