Athens-based Upstream Systems has raised €11 million in growth capital from London-based private equity firm TLcom Capital and Greek investor Alpha Ventures as it seeks to take advantage of opportunities in the rapidly growing mobile marketing industry.
Upstream, which has been self-financed since launching in 2002, delivered revenues of €38 million last year. The company’s main focus is on large-scale mobile phone promotions on behalf of mobile operators and multi-national brands. The firm’s customers include the likes of The Coca Cola Company, Shell, Vodafone Italy and Orange Spain.
According to technology market research firm ABI Research, the mobile marketing industry is set to grow significantly in the next four years, with total global revenues of $1.8 billion in 2008 expected to climb to $24 billion in 2013.
Panos Martinis, director of finance and legal at Upstream, told sister publication Private Equity International that part of the reason for seeking external funding for the first time was to try and take advantage of this growth trend. “It’s largely an untapped area of potential, with a lot of operators not even having tried our initiatives. This year we will launch campaigns in three or four continents and have met enormous demand. The funding gives us the stability to go after as many projects as we want.”
He added that a second reason for the funding was strategic support from the firm’s new partners. “Alpha has a corporate finance/banking perspective, so they can help us with that aspect. TLcom has a strong telecom sector focus so they can give us advice on how best to position ourselves in order to maximise the value of the company’s offerings towards our customers,” he said.
Upstream has seven offices in Athens, London, Toronto, Rome, Bucharest, Mexico City and Buenos Aires.