Gigaom

A small Austin startup called M87 thinks we would all have a better mobile data experience if we’d just share our phones’ 4G connections with one another. Apparently Qualcomm agrees with them.

M87 has closed a $3 million Series A round of funding, which included new strategic investors Qualcomm Ventures(s qcom) and Chinese data center hosting provide 21Vianet along with M87’s original angel investors.

M87 founders (from left): VP Marketing Matt Hovis, CEO David Hampton, Chief Research Officer Vidur Bhargava and CTO Peter Feldman. M87 founders (from left): VP Marketing Matt Hovis, CEO David Hampton, Chief Research Officer Vidur Bhargava and CTO Peter Feldman.

M87 sprang out of the University of Texas’s wireless engineering department after developing a crowdsourced connectivity technology that allows nearby phones to link up via Wi-Fi and use each other 3G and 4G connections to the mobile network. The technology is similar to the crowd mesh-networking technology developed by another emerging networking startup Open Garden, but rather than offer it to consumers, M87 wants to…

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