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Vocalis, the speech recognition software company waiting for mobile phone emailing to catch on, has seen sales for the year to 31 March drop from £4.8 million to £2.7 million. Pre-tax loss for the year had grown from £1.1 million to £4.5 million. It has formed a joint venture with BT to produce software for people to talk over the internet and listen to emails.



Internet protocol software company Orchestream is to float next month following an enthusiastic response to its IPO. The company, started four years ago by college drop-out Charles Muirhead, is expected to break even by 2002. The shares were placed with institutions at 185p, following heavy oversubscription. They were offered at between 150p and 190p.




Floral fashion retailer, Laura Ashley is launching www.lauraashley.com in October, timed to cash in on the Christmas shopping boom. The company said that it was taking a cautious approach to the net, saying that the investment was minimal. The site is being designed and developed by Blueberry.net, in exchange for a share of the profits from future sales from the site.




Epoch Software has raised £4.5 million in second round funding from its institutional shareholders. An extra £500,000 will be gathered from existing shareholder through an offer for subscription. Contributors include Royal & Sun Alliance, and Marshall Wace. Epoch says it will use the cash to move into new markets before its planned IPO at the end of this year.




British Net news outfit - The Net Imperative - has been bought for £162,500 by Heltward Ltd after the e-outfit called in the liquidators earlier this month. The buyout secures jobs and the future for the e-zine although no one knows for how long.




Crystal Palace FC looks like being the beneficiary of One-2-One buying mobile phone retailer Pocket Phone Shop. The Deutsche Telecom owned mobile operator coughed up £73 million for the chain leaving one of its former owners, Simon Jordan, free to push his £10.5 million for the ailing foortball club. ®

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