"iobox.com ("iobox" or the "Company"), the emerging Finnish wireless data service provider which is rapidly expanding throughout Europe, announces that it has raised 13 million of new equity funding to accelerate its international growth. Morgan Stanley Dean Witter Capital Partners ("MSDW Capital Partners"), the Private Equity business of the global investment bank, is providing the majority of the equity and heads a consortium of co-investors.
"iobox is the market leader of mobile internet services in Finland - home of the global mobile phone industry. It was amongst the very first European wireless data applications service providers. iobox offers wireless portal functionality, including messaging services (e-mail, wireless chat and SMS), personal management (address book and calendar applications), information services based on partner content, and a wireless mCommerce platform (product sales via the mobile telephone). In addition, iobox is heavily focussed on WAP and other emerging technologies.
iobox earns revenues from a combination of user service fees, and revenue-sharing with content providers, vendors and other partners.
"iobox currently has 350,000 registered users spread throughout Finland, Sweden, Germany and the UK, and is gaining around 1,500 users every day.
The company's goal is to further develop and market its leading portal for wireless services.
Existing and new investors in iobox
"MSDW Capital Partners is leading and providing the majority of the new equity funding for iobox. Existing investors in iobox who will take part in the funding include Alta Berkeley Associates, Eqvitec Partners and SFK Finance. New investors include MSDW Technology Investment Banking Group, BancBoston Capital, Eden Capital, Pino Ventures and Robertson Stephens.
European internet and mobile phone growth
"The wireless industry is experiencing explosive growth. As an indication of the significant growth potential ahead, there are an estimated 41 million internet users in Europe today, a figure which is forecast to grow to 136 million by 2002. Simultaneously, there are currently 82 million mobile phone users and by 2002, the European figure will be an estimated 195 million. In addition, there is significant emerging demand for wireless internet services, as seen in the explosive growth of SMS and WAP-based services. Finland is leading this trend.