Deal Round-up 06/06/01

3G LAB picks up further funding from 3i; Mergermarket gets first round and valuation jump; Screentec moves out from Bayer’s shadow; ECI gets set to buy and build in UK dental health sector; 3G Idesta picks up E10m.

3i affirm enthusiasm for 3G with £3m

3G LAB Ltd, the 15 month old Cambridge (UK) developer of software for 2.5G and 3G mobile networks and devices, has secured a further £3 million second round of funding from 3i. The company develops software and applications as well as consulting services for mobile device manufacturers and 3G network operators.

Laurence Garrett of 3i’s communications team, said: “Mobile operators are desperate to justify the expenditure on 3G licences by offering interesting and workable applications on the new platform. 3G LAB are in the forefront of offering open platform software applications to enable the operators to maximise the opportunity of wireless Internet, and the team is in the process of building an outstanding wireless software company.”

Mergermarket gets boost for its online financial databases

Mergermarket, the online publisher of M&A research announced it has raised a £3m first round from new investor ProVen Private Equity and NewMedia Spark a previous investor. Mergermarket was valued at £8m post-money in this round, up from £1.8m when the company raised £600,000 in seed funding.

Mergermarket said it will use the funding to consolidate its position in Europe, expand its U.S. activities, and take advantage of publishing opportunities both on and offline. Mergermarket was founded in January 2000, has 33 employees and operations in the UK, Germany and the US.

Life-science specialist Screentec gets E6.5m first round

Screentec, a developer of drug-development technologies using integrated biomolecular screening and chemical analysis, confirmed that it received E6.5m in first-round funding from round leader Life Sciences Partners, Alafi Capital and Prelude Trust.

Screentec has a post-money valuation of approximately E15m. The company said it plans to use the funding for product development and expects to need another round of financing in some two years prior to reaching profitability. Prior to this round, Screentec had received strategic backing from pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG.

ECI Ventures primes shell for dental practices

ECI Ventures has put E5m into the shell company Benchmark Dental Laboratory in readiness to acquire a portfolio of UK dental practices. Benchmark has already acquired three such operations, with a combined turnover of over E4.5 million.

Benchmark was formed by Matthew Hinckley, founder of the Hinckley Group, which was sold in 1998 to Cookson, the specialist materials manufacturer.

ECI shares Hinckley’s view that the UK dental market is ready for consolidation and is eager to build a significant presence in the sector.

nCoTec buys into mobile application firm Idesta

UK venture capital firm nCoTec Ventures, that specialises in investing in the communication technologies sector, has joined Dutch venture capital firm NPM and UK technology group TTP in an E10m first round funding for 3G application specialist Idesta.

Idesta is developing a range of next generation mobile applications that enable remote workers to automate their daily work activities without having to link with central, back-office applications.