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Empower runs out of gas

Messaging specialist cut short

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Mobile messaging software company Empower Interactive Group has gone into administration. The company's SMS and MMS software is used by several mobile operators, including Orange UK, Wind in Italy, Singapore's Starhub, and Etisalat in the UAE.

Administrators from Grant Thornton UK LLP took over just over a week ago and made all 65 of the company's staff redundant. A spokesman for Grant Thornton claimed that Empower is "still trading on a minimal scale" while a buyer is sought.

Empower's speciality is using SMS and MMS messages to drive interactive applications, with the network handling those application messages separately from person-to-person text traffic. In the UK, its technology has been used by TV programmes such as Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, and BBC1's Ask The Nation.

It was founded in 2000, and by 2003 it ranked 6th in the Sunday Times ARM Tech Track 100 of the UK's fastest growing technology companies. It closed a £10m funding round earlier this year, and with over £31m raised in total it was one of the best capitalised European VC-backed companies ever.

Its backers included Scottish Equity Partners, Argo Global Capital, Esprit Capital Partners, DN Capital and Acacia Capital Partners.®

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