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Irish mobile software company Network365 has raised €10 million in new venture capital, as it prepares for expected growth in its sector.

The company, which makes a suite of products under the mzone brand that let users make payments with mobile devices, said the funding would allow it to expand in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Currently, Network365 has about 65 workers, but this number could increase over the coming months, said Vice-President of Marketing John Hurley.

For the round of funding, the firm was advised by Ion Equity, and London-based Advent Venture Partners was the lead investor. Advent joins Amadeus Capital Partners, Trinity Venture Capital, JAFCO and Enterprise Ireland in Network365's list of backers. James McNaught-Davis, a general partner of Advent Venture Partners, will join the board of Network365.

Importantly, the news follows the announcement last week that Japanese mobile giant NTT DoCoMo has chosen Network365 to provide mobile payment and banking services to all of its subscribers in Japan. The importance of the DoCoMo deal is significant, as the company is considered one of the leading mobile network operators in the world, particularly in terms of innovation.

That relationship was forged thanks to a partnership between Network365 and HP in Japan, which is pushing the company's technology to operators looking for payment solutions. The relationship with HP has since become a global agreement, Hurley explained, and should help the company win more deals in the US, Asia and Europe, where Network365 already has some agreements with operators.

"Network365 has a strong balance sheet and this funding will facilitate Network365's global growth as we take advantage of the opportunities in the mobile payments marketplace," said CEO Raomal Perera. "With the global mobile payments market forecast to grow from over €5 billion in 2002 to €55 billion in 2006, Network365 is set to take advantage of this exploding marketplace."

Perera said that the company's focus would be on Asia, where it would consolidate its position. In other markets the firm hopes to beef up its businesses, "enabling us to invest in the emerging US market."

© ENN

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