Speaking to GCV shortly after the fund was unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Bo Illsoe, an NGP managing partner, said: “We are supporting the direction Nokia wants to take. It is taking long-term bets to support the internet-of-things ecosystem through investments and partnership.”

The $350m fund – so far, the firm’s “biggest single commitment” to any kind of venture activity, according to Illsoe – takes Nokia’s total investment in venturing to more than $1.8bn. And it is a sign of the importance attached to NGP as well as a testament to the unit’s success to date.

“The arms-length, collaborative model we have pioneered with Nokia is something that has been working well,” Illsoe added. “Nokia management feels there is a lot of strategic alignment from our activity. They are very pleased with how things have been working.

“Connecting everything through IoT solutions is the next big technological wave and it will affect all aspects of our lives.”

Rajeev Suri, Nokia’s CEO, said: “The $350m Internet of Things investment fund, tasked with finding and funding the best entrepreneurs across the world, reflects our strong intent to be a leader in the technologies that connect people and things, while establishing successful partnerships for both Nokia and the investee companies.”

Paving the way for the new fund, NGP has enjoyed a string of high-profile exits in recent years, including the sales of Chinese firms Ganji, a classified advertising service that was acquired by rival 58.com in April 2015, and UCWeb, bought by e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2014.

The IoT fund will exploit Nokia’s existing fixed and mobile network infrastructure to explore consumer-focused technology such as connected mobility and smart homes, as well as applications for smart cities, healthcare and public safety.

In a recent blog, NGP managing partner Paul Asel said his company was well aware that IoT was as susceptible as any new technology trend to being overhyped. “Yet if overoptimism prevails in the near term, we often fail to anticipate the long-term structural impact of new technologies,” he said. “IoT connectivity is but an entry level requirement for a new data and services that will create new consumer experiences, enable persistent user engagement, facilitate intelligent and predictive customer service, and disrupt industries that have previously been untouched by the internet.

“As a long-term investor, NGP is an early mover in IoT and prepared to be patient in realising value in a space that we believe will be no less disruptive than the internet and mobile has been.”

Asel added: “The internet of things is a broad landscape enabling myriad opportunities to meaningfully augment or disruptive existing markets. But the winners will be those with well-crafted solutions for specific markets and use cases. Entrepreneurs that can address these needs have an opportunity to create iconic, long-lasting companies.”