Czechs Czoose NetSpira
Today’s deal with Eurotel Praha spol. s.r.o. -- the Czech Republic’s largest wireless service provider with a customer base of 4.3 million -- takes the Madrid minnow’s tally of announced carrier wins to five. Earlier deals include Optimus Telecomunicacoes in Portugal, Telefònica Mòviles SA in Spain, Verizon Wireless in Puerto Rico, and Vodafone Spain.
“We actually have eight contractually paid customers in total,” claims CEO José López.
Founded in 2001, the Spanish firm has developed what it calls an “Enhanced Charging Solution,” which sits alongside the GPRS gateway support node (GGSN) or the packet data serving node (PDSN) in wireless networks. The kit aims to enable operators to create, rate, and bill for data services without needing to upgrade their transport infrastructures (see NetSpira Cranks Up).
Following the acquisition of P-Cube Inc. by Cisco Systems last month, NetSpira is now the most successful startup operating in this space, on paper at least (see Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M). Rivals ProQuent Systems Corp. and Megisto Systems Inc. have kept very low profiles in recent months.
López claims to be undaunted by the prospect of facing Cisco’s newly acquired traffic-management arsenal. “We look at it as one less competitor for us. Besides, it would have been worse if a completely new player in the market had acquired P-Cube, as it would have given us another new competitor.”
The company also argues that Cisco’s $200 million acquisition could strengthen NetSpira's ability to attract future investment. To date, the startup has received “a few million” dollars of investment from Spanish VC Bullnet Capital, but López is eager to secure new funding “in the first half of next year.”
“The acquisition puts a valuation on the market,” adds Salim A. Mawji, executive VP of business development. “It gives us a benchmark. Previous experiences with Tahoe and Watercove weren’t great for the market.” (See Alcatel Swallows WaterCove and Nokia Sweeps Up Tahoe.)
— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung