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Apertio Takes Soft Approach

U.K. startup Apertio Ltd. is talking up its potential to take on the big guns in the core network infrastructure market, citing a bevy of carrier wins as proof of its credentials.

Founded in 2002, the company has dubbed itself a "soft" infrastructure vendor supplying Home Location Register (HLR) kit.

HLRs are databases that maintain subscriber information such as account and location details, sitting off to the side of the mobile switching center (MSC) in a carrier’s core network. This proprietary hardware kit is traditionally deployed by the likes of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY), Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU), Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), and friends.

Apertio claims its own HLR is deployed as an open software system based on a Unix platform and has already been installed at a number of carriers.

“An open system, software approach massively reduces costs for carriers,” CEO Paul Magelli tells Unstrung. “We offer a tenfold cost improvement on yesterday’s legacy hardware systems and can support anywhere between 10,000 to over 20 million subscribers. Also, the platform occupies as little as one hundredth of the footprint of traditional systems, freeing up switch-site floor space.”

Bullish claims indeed, so why has the company been quiet until now?

“Unlike some other startups, we wanted to wait until we had a real story to tell,” says Magelli. “We will be making more noise next year. We already have seven customers and are about to add number eight.”

Magelli touts Advanced Info Service plc (AIS), Meteor Mobile Communications Ltd., TA Orange Co. Ltd., Orange UK (London: OGE), and Vodafone UK (London: VOD) amongst the done deals (see Apertio Wins at TA Orange).

The CEO says the startup has also struck an OEM deal with IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) and a “preferred partnership” agreement with Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

The company has raised approximately $10 million in VC funding, from investors Deutsche Venture Capital (DVC), Eden Ventures, Motorola Ventures, and the Tokarz Group.

“We did about a million dollars in revenue last year and about $6 million this year,” adds Magelli.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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