Ciqual, a Scotland based mobile broadband customer service solutions provider, has raised funding from Indian mobile VAS company One97* and Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s fund Tomorrow Ventures. Par Equity and the Scottish Investment Bank, which had invested GBP 1.25 million in Ciqual in 2009, also participated in the funding round. Details about the investment amount have not been disclosed.
Ciqual intends to use the funding for promotion and distribution of their patented technology, Session Insight, in International markets. Given that One97 has invested, perhaps they’re also looking at India. Session Insight is a real time service and user experience tracking tool for mobile broadband providers which lets them dynamically monitor and manage per-session service experience for customers and deliver customer service accordingly. Ciqual has a worldwide channel partner agreement with Nokia Siemens Networks. The release mentions that its customers include mobile operators in UK, Italy, Spain, China and Australia, but there are no specifics on its website.
Last year, One97 made an exit from tenCube, the developer of Wave Secure, five months after it initially invested in it in February 2010. It had also invested in mobile advertising startup Oorja Mobile Services. Schmidt backed TomorrowVentures focuses on seed and early-stage venture capital investments; in the past, it has invested in data rights management platform Bright Tag, mobile app store Pocket Gear and iOS game develper, Social Gaming Network.
The Indian Opportunity
India is typically a market with low broadband penetration, and mobile/wireless rollout is being seen as the primary mode for broadband connectivity in the country. Last year, private Indian telecom operators licensed 3G and 4G spectrum in back-to-back auctions, and many of them are in the process of rolling out services. However, connectivity has been erratic in case of EVDO services (frequent disconnections, areas of no connectivity etc), and with telecom operators licensing only 5MHz of 3G spectrum each, it’s likely that connectivity issues will continue. Most telecom operators are eying data as a means of combating the decline in ARPU, so it appears that there is a market in India that Ciqual would like to target.
(by Nikhil Pahwa and Anupam Saxena)
Disclosure: One97 Communications is an advertiser with MediaNama