The success of Apple’s App Store is encouraging venture capitalists to invest in smartphone software start-ups

venture capitalist with a US$100m fund to invest in start-ups specializing in iPhone applications has told the New York Times he expects to tap into the success of Apple’s App Store.

Matt Murphy, who oversees the iFund created earlier this year by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has received 2,500 business plans for potential iPhone application start-ups this year and has invested in four.

He tells the Times that until the iPhone emerged, finding hot mobile start-ups was difficult – largely because control over what was on a cellphone was controlled by the wireless carriers, not entrepreneurs.

That changed with the launch of the App Store, from where iPhone owners have already downloaded more than 60 million applications.

This, and the emergence of smartphone software opportunities, such as Google’s new Android operating system, has sparked a creative boom among software developers.

Now other investors and phonemakers are looking with increasing interest at potentially lucractive investments in innovative developers.

The Times report says Research in Motion is expected to announce soon a fund for developers who want to create applications for the BlackBerry.

JLA Ventures, which is based in Canada, along with RBC Venture Partners, is co-managing the US$150 million BlackBerry Partners Fund.

Google announced a US$10 million challenge for software using its Android operating system.

Are app developers are a good financial bet? Please send us your comments.

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