VoluBill Scores $14M

Data charging startup VoluBill has grabbed an €11 million ($14.4 million) VC cash injection amid claims it will finally reveal a number of Tier 1 carrier deals this year (see VoluBill Grabs €11M ).

Founded in 2001, the Grenoble, France-based vendor has raised a total of €26 million ($34 million) from three rounds of funding. VoluBill has developed what it calls a "Dialog Control and Charging Platform (D2CP)" software kit, which aims to enable operators to create, rate, and bill for fancy new data services without needing to upgrade their existing transport infrastructures.

The company has to date publicly announced only a single customer win through a partnership with Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), deploying its D2CP product at Philippine carrier Globe Telecom (see Volubill, HP Win at Globe).

Meanwhile rival Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) looks set to dominate the wireless data charging market following its $200 million acquisition of startup P-Cube (see Cisco Plucks P-Cube for $200M). Megisto Systems Inc., NetSpira Networks SL, and ProQuent Systems Corp. are also battling it out for the remaining spoils (see Megisto Gleams at StarHub, Czechs Czoose NetSpira and ProQuent Ain't Spent).

VoluBill’s CEO André Meyer plays down any concern over recent muted activity and claims to have a number of large deals in the bag. “It takes time to get approval for announcements as our business model is to go indirect,” he tells Unstrung. As well as HP, VoluBill’s partners include Accenture, Capgemini, and LogicaCMG plc (London/Amsterdam: LOG). (See Logica, VoluBill Team Up and HP Resells VoluBill).

“We had a series of very significant deals in 2004, some very large deals. We have a very large deal in India and now have a good number of customers. We are currently working on a series of announcements.”

Meyer also confirms that previous reports of a deal at French carrier SFR are accurate.

Looking ahead, the CEO says VoluBill is on course to hit profitability next year. “We should not need any additional funding... We have burnt less than €15 million. Some of our competitors have burnt more than 60 to 70 million.”

VoluBill’s latest round of funding was led by Deutsche Venture Capital (DVC) and SPEF Venture, as well as existing investors Sofinnova Ventures Inc., Argo Global Capital LLC, and Sofinnova Partners.

Meyer declines to reveal specific financial details but states “it was about half from new investors and half from existing investors.”

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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