Aepona Raises $10 Million from BlackBerry Fund, Others

Aepona, a Belfast, Ireland-based provider of software that enables “network-as-a-service” for mobile operators, has raised $10 million in new VC funding. BlackBerry Partners Fund led the round, and was joined by return backers Amadeus Capital Partners, Polaris Ventures, Innovacom, Nordic Venture Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.

PRESS RELEASE

Aepona, the software company that enables a new era of profitable collaboration between mobile operators and application providers, today announced that BlackBerry Partners Fund, a Toronto-based global fund focused on applications, services and supporting infrastructure for mobile platforms, has led a new $10M investment round in the company. Existing Aepona investors Amadeus Capital Partners, Polaris Ventures, Innovacom, Nordic Venture Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures also participated in the round.

Aepona, whose revenues grew 50% year-on-year from 2008 to 2009 with positive EBITDA, will use the new round of funding to accelerate its commercial growth. It will invest in additional sales and business development resources to take advantage of the market opportunity that the growing global demand for mobile-enabled applications presents for both the company and its mobile operator customers.

Aepona provides the software engine that powers the “Network as a Service” (NaaS) business model for mobile operators. With Aepona’s solution, a mobile operator can monetise important assets and functionality within its network – such as billing, location, messaging and voice communications – to open up new revenue opportunities. It can expose and share these assets as Web Service APIs, for third-party application developers, enterprises and media companies to incorporate into new and existing mobile-enabled applications.

Aepona is a market leader in the NaaS marketplace through its deployments with more than 20 Tier One mobile operators around the world, together with its pioneering work on the GSM Association’s OneAPI initiative and the launch of the Canadian OneAPI commercial service, which is at the forefront of the Mobile Cloud Computing market.

Commenting on its decision to invest in Aepona, Marc Faucher, Partner at BlackBerry Partners Fund said, “Aepona’s proposition is constructively aligned with the strategic goals of mobile operators, and the company is ideally positioned to capitalize on the major trends that are shaping the future of the mobile industry.”

Among these key trends are:

* Mobile operators looking for ways to re-assert themselves in the applications value chain to address increasing competition from web-based service providers.
* The proliferation of high-end smartphones enabling a new generation of applications and services that combine advanced device functionality with core mobile network functionality, creating significant additional value for the end-user compared with the device-only applications that are prevalent today.
* The arrival of Cloud Computing into the mobile domain meaning that application providers can now quickly and easily access mobile network capabilities across multiple operators. This reduces market fragmentation and is vital for driving mass adoption of applications on a global scale.

“Aepona’s solution directly addresses these trends, and it’s for this reason that BlackBerry Partners Funds believes the company is poised for significant growth. We look forward to working with Aepona, and providing insight and support that will help the company realise its full potential in the mobile eco-system,” continues Faucher.

“We are delighted to welcome BlackBerry Partners Fund on board as a new investor in Aepona,” said Al Snyder, CEO of Aepona. “The Fund shares our vision for the future of the mobile industry – one in which mobile operators can adopt a two-sided business model, delivering differentiated, network-enabled applications through their retail channels as well as directly monetizing their network and billing assets to open up new wholesale revenue opportunities from the Mobile Cloud. We especially look forward to leveraging the relationships that BlackBerry Partners Fund shares with the handset and application developer communities, to develop new propositions that combine the unique capabilities of the mobile device with the power of the mobile network.”

About Aepona
Aepona provides products and services to Telcos globally, enabling them to adopt the emerging Network as a Service (NaaS) business model and unleash the full power of their network assets.

With NaaS, Telcos can profit from the current trend towards Mobile Cloud Computing by publishing and monetizing their assets as Web-based APIs towards Enterprises, Web-Based Service Providers and Application Developers.

Aepona’s products are used by operators globally to power 1.2 billion monthly transactions and deliver $1 billion annual revenues to operators, application and content providers. Aepona is also the technology provider for the GSMA’s OneAPI initiative. For more information, visit www.aepona.com.

About BlackBerry Partners Fund
The BlackBerry Partners Fund™ is designed to deliver superior returns on the compelling investment opportunity in applications, services and supporting infrastructure for the BlackBerry® and other mobile platforms. The Fund’s mandate is based on the premise that in the future smartphones will be powerful portable computers for use at home, work, and leisure. The Fund invests in companies developing applications that make smartphones a compelling platform for media, commerce, enterprise, entertainment, and lifestyle applications. The Fund is global in scope and will consider all stages of development. For further information visit: www.blackberrypartnersfund.com.