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Mobile

ProQuent's Caped Crusader

Data services platform startup ProQuent Systems Corp. has appointed a new CEO ahead of its latest round of VC funding due for announcement next week.

Lou Piazza -- former CEO of failed edge-switch vendor Gotham Networks -- has taken over the head honcho role, with ProQuent co-founder Tom Hamilton moving across to CTO (see Gotham Networks, MIA).

“Tom remains a deeply critical part of the team,” says Piazza. “He just decided that being a CEO wasn’t really for him long-term.”

Meanwhile Piazza says the startup will next week announce details of a new round of funding, complementing the $34 million it has already raised. The new CEO declines to specify an exact figure on the latest cash injection, commenting only that the sum is “impressive” and “will be our last round of financing.”

ProQuent has developed what it calls an “IP Mobile Services Switching Point,” which sits off to the side of the GPRS Gateway Support Node (GGSN) or the Packet Data Serving Node (PDSN) in wireless networks. The switching point aims to enable operators to create, rate, and bill for fancy new data services without needing to upgrade their transport infrastructures (see ProQuent's Name Game).

To date, the company has announced one commercial customer, although it claims in true startup fashion that other, as-yet unnamed, carriers are already signed up (see ProQuent Wins Portugese Deal). “At this time we are not able to disclose their names, but we do have customers,” says VP and chief marketing officer Laura Howard.

Last month ProQuent also launched its ACCESS (Authorized Content Control & Electronic Subject Screening) mobile product, enabling carriers to filter content according to the target audience (see ProQuent Polices Content).

The U.K.’s six wireless operators -- Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), mmO2 plc, T-Mobile (UK), Virgin Mobile (UK) , Orange UK (London: OGE), and Hutchison 3G UK Ltd. -- have signed a joint code of practice designed to safeguard children from adult content on mobile phones, and ProQuent is hopeful its latest product, which could be set up to block unsavory content, will tie in with the venture (see UK Carriers Tackle Content).

“We are in discussions with at least one of the carriers,” comments Howard. “Two of the carriers have RFPs out on the streets for this.”

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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