Virgin Mobile Latin America, a portfolio company of ePlanet Capital, has inked $26.5 million in new equity financing, the company announced Monday. The money will go toward developing regional businesses and launch services in Chile. Investors include the Virgin Group and ePlanet Capital, Hermes Growth Partners, CANEPA and Souter Investments.
ePlanet Capital portfolio company Virgin Mobile Latin America (“VMLA”), a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) targeting Latin America, has secured USD 26.5 million of new equity funding to further develop its regional business and to launch services in Chile.
VMLA is a telecommunications operator established a little over a year ago to offer new products and services to over 450 million consumers across Latin America under the Virgin brand. VMLA is currently developing operations in several countries throughout the region in cooperation with local partners, regulators, and Mobile Network Operators. In addition to the recent launch of Virgin Mobile Chile, VMLA has targeted the launch of operations in 7 further markets, including Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. VMLA will deliver new services and value to its customers by creatively packaging products specifically targeting the needs of the youth market segment, Virgin Mobile’s natural audience.
The new funding for VMLA consists of equity from existing shareholders, including the Virgin Group and ePlanet Capital, and from several new investors including Hermes Growth Partners (“HGP”), CANEPA and Souter Investments.
Juan Villalonga, former Chairman and CEO of Telefonica S.A., is co-founder of HGP and has joined the VMLA Board of Directors with immediate effect.
Souter Investments is the private investment vehicle of Sir Brian Souter, founder of Stagecoach Group. This significant new funding is a vote of confidence from international investors in VMLA as well as for the future growth outlook of the region’s mobile telecommunications sector.
Asad Jamal, Founder and Chairman of ePlanet commented, “As one of the first institutional investors in VMLA, we are delighted with the company’s progress. In a relatively short time the company has penetrated several markets and is poised to become the number one mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) in the region. We have worked with the founders and management team for a long time in other projects and look forward to this next phase in the company’s growth.”
Commenting on the new funding, Phil Wallace, Chairman & co-Founder of VMLA, said; “Virgin Mobile Latin America is just beginning its expansion across the region. We are making rapid progress and I expect millions of consumers in Latin America will be enjoying the benefits of Virgin Mobile’s tailored offerings in the future. The new funding from this very distinguished group of investors supports VMLA’s vision of establishing a multi-market regional footprint”. _
Virgin Mobile Latin America (VMLA) is a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) that intends to expand the world-class Virgin Mobile brand throughout Latin America, joining a growing network of Virgin Mobile operations in seven countries (Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, UK and the USA) serving 15 million mobile subscribers. VMLA’s management and shareholders include some of the wireless industry’s most experienced teams with an impressive track record of success in the MVNO business._
ePlanet Capital (http://www.eplanetcapital.com/), founded by Mr. Jamal, is
the first venture/growth capital firm to utilize a global model with offices in
Asia, Europe and the United States. ePlanet was awarded the Asia VC of the
Year 2009, the China Exit of the Year award for the No. 1 search engine
Baidu’s IPO in 2005 and the Europe Exit of the Year award for the No.1 VoIP
Company Skype in 2005. ePlanet has been consistently ranked amongst the
Top 20 venture capital firms by FORBES for 2007 – 09 and has also been
called the ‘Pioneer of Global Venture Capital’ by FORBES in 2007. ePlanet’s
portfolio companies have achieved a market cap in excess of $50 billion, and
ePlanet’s funds are considered amongst the most successful in their
About the Virgin Group_
About Virgin Group: Virgin is a leading international investment group and
one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands. Conceived in 1970
by Sir Richard Branson, the Virgin Group has gone on to grow successful
businesses in sectors ranging from mobile telephony, travel, financial
services, leisure, music, holidays and health & wellness. Virgin has created
more than 400 branded companies worldwide and employs approximately
50,000 people, in 34 countries. Global branded revenues in 2011 were
About CANEPA and Hermes Growth Partners_
CANEPA and Hermes Growth Partners manage and advise the CANEPA
Global TMT Fund, seeking to invest $10m-$50m into each situation. CANEPA
is a privately held firm that builds and operates investment platforms around
global growth themes. Hermes Growth Partners is a private equity advisory
firm that focuses on growth-stage companies in the telecom, media and
technology (TMT) sectors globally. The firm’s primary objective is to help
high-potential TMT companies drive growth and create value through a
combination of long-term capital and operational expertise. _
About Souter Investments_
Souter Investments is the private investment office of Sir Brian Souter, the
joint founder and chief executive of transport giant Stagecoach Group. It
makes investments in quoted, markets, fund investments and unquoted
private companies and holds a wide ranging portfolio of assets valued in
excess of £400m. Significant investments include Sunseeker, the luxury
motor yacht manufacturer, UK insurer esure and price comparison site
gocompare.com, biodiesel manufacturer Argent Energy and bus and coach
builder Alexander Dennis. In addition, Souter Investments holds stakes in
public transport businesses Istanbul Deniz Otobusleri, PolskiBus.com, Mana
Coach Services, Howick and Eastern Buses and Fullers Group.