British and Greek VCs team up

London VC TLcom Capital and Greek private equity and venture capital house Alpha Ventures have co-led an €11m funding round for Upstream Telecommunications and Software Systems, an Athens-headquartered mobile marketing business.

Upstream recorded revenues in 2008 of €38m, making it one of the fastest growing companies in the mobile services sector following its launch in 2002. It has been profitable ever since and its growth so far has been entirely self-funded.

With seven offices in Athens, London, Toronto, Rome, Bucharest, Mexico City and Buenos Aires, the €11m of VC money will be used to continue this growth and target new customers around the world.

Much of the company’s growth can be attributed to the large scale revenue generating mobile promotions it conducts for mobile operators and multinational brands. According to ABI research, the mobile marketing industry is poised for dramatic growth over the next fours years, with revenues expected to reach US$24bn in 2013 from US$1.8bn in 2007/08.

Mauro Pretolani, general partner of TLcom, said: “Upstream is a strong innovator in the international mobile value added services market, where the company has been able to offer new services to consumers while engaging the operators with innovative business models that are well suited to the operators’ needs of limiting investments and risks, a factor more relevant than ever in this difficult economic climate.”