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Pronto Heads Overseas

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LR Mobile News Analysis
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2/9/2004
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Wireless LAN software startup Pronto Networks Inc. has bagged a further $11.3 million in VC funding, money it hopes will help boost its credibility in the European and Asian markets (see Pronto Scores $11.3M ).

The California vendor is attempting to target its software package and outsourced services at would-be wireless LAN hotspot service providers, enabling them to bundle hotspot access with their existing services. While not unique on an individual basis, the integration of various operational support system (OSS) functions can be a complex chore for a service provider to pull together by itself. (See Pronto Hops on Hotspot Ops for more details on Pronto’s offering.)

“We bring all the back-office systems together,” claims president and CEO Jasbir Singh. “We offer anything from provisioning to customer care, and billing and integration into 3G networks.” Singh claims that automated provisioning and management of access points is a “key element” for service providers planning to install and manage thousands of hotspots.

Today’s deal sees Singh attempting to steer the West Coast company into new regional territory. “It will help us take the next step and expand aggressively in emerging markets outside North America. We want to have a pretty significant focus in Europe this year and are building up an office in the U.K... At present, 70 percent of our revenue comes from the U.S.”

Despite such grandiose plans, Pronto is still awaiting its first killer customer deal. It already has sales deals with Boingo Wireless Inc. and Navini Networks Inc., support from Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and an OEM agreement with Alvarion Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALVR), but the company is in need of some big customer names to give it a deep revenue stream (see Pronto Gets Into Alvarion, Navini, Pronto Team for WWAN and Pronto Supports M'soft's WPS).

Not that this worries Singh, who claims that such deals are already signed. “We have close to 100 wireless service providers as customers, and we have a number of Tier 1 service providers, but I cannot name them at the moment.” [Ed. note: If I had a dollar for every time...]

Today’s funding builds on an initial $5 million joint investment from Intel Communications Fund and Draper Fisher Jurvetson (see Pronto Gets Investment). Both VCs were also involved in this latest round, led by BV Capital.

Singh declines to specify when the company aims to hit profitability, but he's adamant that today’s round of funding will be the last. “We have made very good progress with revenue generation and customer signings. We are comfortable we will soon have successful cash flow.”

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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