Additional Funding to Accelerate Expansion into Europe and Asia Pacific in 2004
PLEASANTON, CA – February 9, 2004 – Pronto Networks, a leading provider of carrier-class OSS solutions for large Wi-Fi hot spot networks, today announced the closing of $11.3 million in Series B funding, which will help the company capitalize on the rapid growth of Wi-Fi around the globe. The round was led by US and Europe based BV Capital, which invests in early and growth stage companies mainly located in California and Northern Europe. Follow-on investments were secured from Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ) and the Intel Communications Fund, both of which participated in the company’s first round in January 2003.
“The closing of this second round of funding will help us further strengthen our competitive position in the Wi-Fi OSS marketplace and will enable Pronto to expand its sales and marketing operations, particularly in Europe and Asia Pacific where the public WLAN market is growing rapidly,” said Jasbir Singh, president and CEO of Pronto Networks. “In addition to the financial investment, BV Capital will also be providing important strategic guidance for Pronto as the company embarks on its overseas expansion in early 2004.”
According to a recent study by market research firm Gartner Inc., WLAN “hot spots” for public use will multiply in Europe in 2004 and be found in 43,000 locations by 2008. And in the Asia Pacific region, IDC predicts that the public WLAN subscriber market will reach close to 7 million subscribers by the end of 2008 with total revenues exceeding US$600 million. As such, Pronto is making expansion into both markets a priority.
“Pronto is the trendsetter in Wi-Fi hotspot provisioning and management,” said Wolfgang Rose, General Partner of BV Capital. “We expect Pronto ́s centralized and scalable management capability to become increasingly mission critical for operators of fast growing public Wi-Fi networks all over the world. Public hotspot environments will eventually require the same professional management standards as other existing access networks.”
Pronto Networks provides carrier-class Wi-Fi Operations Support System (OSS) software solutions that handle provisioning, authentication, access control, security, pre and post-paid billing and roaming settlement to large Wi-Fi hot spot operators. And as new broadband wireless technologies emerge – such as 802.16a (WiMAX) and 802.20 – Pronto’s OSS is designed to work with them, as well.
“Pronto Networks has created significant momentum since its first financing round, as demonstrated by the signing of several key service provider customers and partners last year. We are enthusiastic about the company’s prospects as it expands globally,” said Andreas Stavropoulos, a Managing Director at Draper Fisher Jurvetson.
Sriram Viswanthan, managing director of Intel Capital’s Mobile Communications Investments, added, “We are excited to increase our investment in Pronto Networks as it builds on its leadership position in the OSS market for broadband wireless access and provides a critical component within the public WLAN ecosystem.”
Pronto Networks has announced partnerships with several major players in the industry, including Boingo, iPass, Gemtek Systems, Navini, and most recently, Sun Microsystems and Microsoft. In addition, Pronto has close to 100 customers comprised of both greenfield wireless operators and ISPs, along with tier one operators.
“The public WLAN market is one that represents great promise within the global wireless industry,” said Richard Dean, program director of infrastructure integration and support services at IDC. “However, the critical question that many firms are struggling with remains how the multiple providers competing for market share will sustain long-term profitability in an increasingly crowded environment. One area where that is already happening is in providing back-end software solutions to provision, deploy and manage hot spot networks. With Wi-Fi ubiquity on the horizon, back-end support for the network will be crucial to the success of public hot spots and can accelerate profitability for hot spot operators.”
About Pronto Networks
Pronto Networks, based in Pleasanton, Calif., provides carrier-class Operations Support Systems (OSS) that enable network operators to deploy and manage large public hot spot networks. The company’s software handles provisioning, configuration, authentication, access control, security, pre-paid and post-paid billing, and roaming settlement for large public WLAN networks, in addition to remotely managing and updating multi-vendor hardware and Wi-Fi switches. Pronto Networks is funded by Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the Intel Communications Fund. In 2003, Pronto Networks has received several awards including Wired Magazine’s Top 25 Wi-Fi Companies to Watch, the AlwaysOn list of Top 100 Private Companies, and Computerworld’s Innovative Technology Awards. For more information about Pronto Networks, please visit www.prontonetworks.com.
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Kristie Heins for Pronto Networks Ruder-Finn, Inc.