Indian mobile VAS Company One97 Communications has acquired a minority stake of less than 25% in Singapore-based tenCube, a smart phone security technology developer firm and may increase its stake in the future. Economic Times reported that the company bought a 25 percent stake in the company, and the deal is valued close to Rs 1 billion, but MediaNama has learnt from Vijay Shekhar Sharma, MD, One97 Communications that the deal is below Rs. 100 million and the stake is also less than 25 percent.
On why the company chose to buy a small stake, Sharma said, “At present, tenCube was doing well on its own and that the amount invested is sufficient for the Singapore-based company.” He added that this is a completely strategic investment by the company and there are chances it may increase its stake in the future.
The deal will allow One97 reseller rights for WaveSecure, a security service for smartphones developed by tenCube, with which One97 will enter Europe and North America.
They will tie-up with handset manufacturers, who will acquire the license and embed the service with the handset. One 97 has already tied up with Nokia and the Nokia N96 and N97 handsets will come with the service.
Second, users can access the service from operators and and pay charges of Rs 30 or more. Sharma did not disclose the revenue share deal with operators but did mention that it will be according to company standards.
Other Investments: Oorja, PayTM, Oc2ps
One97 has previously invested in mobile advertising startup Oorja Mobile Services and incubated PayTM, m-commerce platform and Oc2ps, a social networking platform. In November 2009 Sharma told Medianama that the services Oorja and PayTM were break-even positive but Oc2ps is not revenue generating. Last year the company tied up with Nuance Communications to offer services that uses Nuance’s speech recognition technology to telecom operators and enterprise customers.
One 97 has also been planning for an IPO to fund expansion in India and abroad but the company declined to divulge the exact timing but did say that they were prepared. At present the company claims that every month 300 million unique subscribers perform 5 billion transaction on their platform.
In January 2009, One97 has announced a round of fund raising from Intel Capital and Silicon Valley Bank. The exact amount raised was not disclosed but it is known that Intel Capital had invested a total of $23 Million in three companies – One97 Communications, IndiaMART and Global Talent Track. SAIF Partners and Silicon Valley Bank which has also participated in the funding had earlier invested $8-10 Million in the mobile VAS company. Sharma had told Medianama then that the funding would be used for organic growth and that they are targeting $100 million in revenues by 2010. Last year, Sharma had told Medianama that only 1-2 percent of revenues is generated from overseas market and the rest was from India. At that time the company claimed revenues worth $25 million.
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