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McAfee To Acquire Phone Backup & Security Co WaveSecure; One97 Exits

Digital security major McAfee has reached an agreement to acquire tenCube, which provides WaveSecure mobile security and phone backup services. The acquisition is expected to expected to close by August 30th 2010, and the financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. WaveSecure has around 26 employees and contractors, and is deployed for over 500,000 users, in partnership with Singapore Telecom and Nokia India.

This acquisition comes just five months after mobile VAS company One97 Communications took a minority stake in WaveSecure – for below Rs. 10 crore, for less than 25 percent stake. WaveSecure had only been recently moved to the One97 Mobility Fund, so this is its first exit. Speaking with MediaNama, One97 Communications MD Vijay Shekhar Sharma said that he doesn’t view this as an exit, saying that “The decision was taken by the TenCube founding team, and we were supportive of the decision. Security on mobile phones is a hot area and WaveSecure is a product that can’t be replicated in a couple of months.” But wasn’t the sale too soon? “The right timing is as important as the right product, ” he says. Sharma adds that the company made “many 3-digits percentage” in returns over and above their investment. As a business, One97 will continue to deploy the product in India.

This is the second instance in recent times, of an Indian Mobile VAS company exiting a company it had invested/incubated: OnMobile Global, last year, had sold stake in Ver Se Innovations, a company which it had 51% stake in. OnMobile has its own OnMobile Developer Network (ODN). Read here what OnMobile CEO Arvind Rao had to say on competition from One97 and SAIF Partners’ $100 fund.

WaveSecure & McAfee

The WaveSecure acquisition helps McAfee expand its mobile security portfolio beyond “anti-malware, data protection, Web security and family protection”, as well as expand its addressable device base to “Android, Blackberry, Symbian, Windows Mobile, iPhone and Java powered phones.” Competitors Symantec and F-Secure only support Android, and Kaspersky only supports Symbian and Windows Mobile; Symantec has a competing product in beta, and Kaspersky and F-Secure don’t offer online access.

WaveSecure’s technology allows users to control their mobile phones – back-up and remotely locate, lock and wipe the device and memory cards, if the phone is lost or stolen; the phone automatically goes into lock-down mode if it is used with an un-authorized wireless account and inform a user’s emergency contact of its location. WaveSecure locked phones show a permanent message on the screen explaining how to return the phone to its owner.

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McAfee intends to add this to its enterprise and consumer services. The opportunity, according to McAfee – people today are 15 times more likely to lose their phones than their laptop. McAfee also plans to offer a child locator service, using the unique technology from WaveSecure. McAfee also intends to expand the language portfolio of the WaveSecure service beyond English, Chinese and Indonesian.


Wavesecure-McAfee FAQ (PDF)
Matrix Parners Infuses Rs. 200M In OnMobile Incubated Ver Se
One97 Communications Acquires Minority Stake In tenCube
One97 & SAIF Partners Launch $100 Million Mobility Fund

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