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Investment to expand Azure’s next-generation telecoms revenue-assurance portfolio and global roll-out

Azure Solutions, the revenue-assurance company, today announced that it has secured a further $15 million of funding. This round of funding was led by Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, the early-stage technology venture capital fund, with additional financing coming from Intel Capital, Intel’s strategic investment program. Existing investors New Venture Partners (NVP), the corporate venturing firm, AG Edwards, the financial services holding company, and Hexagon Investments, the private investment company, also contributed. NVP managed the spin-out of Azure from BT in 2003 and acted as the lead financial investor.

The funding will be used to develop further Azure’s next-generation telecoms revenue-assurance portfolio and accelerate the company’s geographic expansion across the Americas and Asia Pacific. Additionally, Jerry Ennis, at Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures will be joining Azure’s board of directors.

Azure enables communications operators worldwide to reduce losses and safeguard profits from malicious and unintentional revenue leakage. Global operator revenue losses are currently estimated at 10.7 per cent of turnover (Analysys/Azure Solutions, 2004). This equates to over one hundred billion dollars of lost revenue per annum and this figure is likely to increase with the emergence of next-generation telecoms services and technology.

Azure has already launched Azure Inter-Party Management as the first product in its next-generation portfolio and this is now being used by operators. Azure Inter-Party Management provides operators with real-time rating, translation, billing and settlement for next-generation services. It enables their service-provider clients to view data and business performance online and the operators themselves to set up real-time billing and online partner self-care. The launch date for the second part of the next-generation revenue-assurance portfolio will be announced shortly.

Azure’s end-to-end revenue-assurance product portfolio for current-generation networks includes Data Integrity, Wholesale and Interconnect Billing, International Settlements, Fraud Management, Mediation Management, Translation and Rating, Event Integrity and Route Optimisation.

John Cronin, president and CEO of Azure Solutions, said: “To attract funding from companies of the calibre of Doughty Hanson and Intel Capital is a real endorsement for Azure. Part of the funding will be used to maintain the leadership position of our award-winning revenue-assurance portfolio for circuit-switched, IP and 3G networks. We will also increase our global support for existing and new customers, especially tier 1 operators such as BT, KPN, Vodafone, Telenor and Verizon, amongst others, that we are already working with.”

Jerry Ennis, said: “We identified Azure as the star performer in the revenue-assurance market. It already has a broad base of tier 1 carriers, excellent technology and a strong management team. This is a great time to be involved with the company, as there will be many opportunities with operators needing to maximise revenues through next-generation networks and services.”

Damien Callaghan, investment manager at Intel Capital, said: “For next-generation networks to be commercially viable, revenue assurance is vital. We see Azure as a key company in this. The provision of cost-effective, high bandwidth and improving mobility to computing and communications users is of great interest to Intel. The importance of Azure’s role in making this happen has been recognised by the company’s peers through industry awards.”

Azure was advised by Close Brothers Corporate Finance.

-ENDS-

About Azure Solutions (www.azuresolutions.com)
Azure Solutions is the world’s largest revenue-assurance company. It is headquartered in London, with people in Westminster (Colorado), Ipswich, Paris, Frankfurt, Madrid, Barcelona, Islamabad, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne. Azure’s end-to-end revenue-assurance product portfolio for current-generation networks includes Data Integrity, Wholesale and Interconnect Billing, International Settlements, Fraud Management, Mediation, Management, Translation and Rating, Event Integrity and Route Optimisation. Azure has launched Azure Inter-Party Management as the first product in its next-generation portfolio. Azure provides individual products or complete revenue-assurance solutions using a common platform and any combination of products that a customer might need. Customers can choose a system that they own and operate themselves or a bureau that Azure manages on their behalf. Azure has over 60 customers across the world comprising PTTs, mobile operators,
national operators, carrier’s carrier and cable TV companies. Azure has significant carrier experience and understands the problems faced by all these operators.

The company’s heritage can be traced back to BT in the early 1990s. Azure was spun out of BT in April 2003 and is backed by New Venture Partners, Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures and Intel Capital.

Recently Azure won the ‘Best Revenue-Assurance Project’ award at the World Billing Awards 2005 in London, and ‘Most Promising Company’ at the TeleStrategies Billing & OSS World Excellence Awards 2005 in Philadelphia.

About Doughty Hanson
Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures aims to help talented entrepreneurs in Europe to build world-class technology companies. Founded in 2000, Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund with $272 million under management. The Fund is independently managed by a dedicated team of professionals with substantial personal experience in the technology and financial sectors. The fund is focused on three sectors: software; communications technologies and semiconductors.

Doughty Hanson & Co, one of Europe's largest independent private equity firms, has over $5 billion of funds under management through its private equity funds, its real estate fund and the technology ventures fund.

Intel Capital
Intel Capital, Intel's strategic investment program, focuses on making equity investments and acquisitions to grow the Internet economy in support of Intel's strategic interests. Intel Capital invests in hardware, software and services companies in several market segments, including computing, networking, and wireless communications. For more information, visit www.intel.com/capital.

About New Venture Partners (NVP)
NVP is a venture capital firm recognized as a leader in the field of corporate spin-outs. Since March 1997, NVP has developed and invested in over 40 portfolio companies that resulted from the spin-out of technologies from its corporate partners including Lucent/Bell Labs and British Telecommunications, amongst others. Recent successes include iBiquity Digital, Flarion, Vallent (formerly Watchmark-Comnitel), LPSS (now Intrado), Celiant (now part of Andrew Corp.), Internet Photonics (now part of Ciena), Vidus, (now part of @Road) and Azure Solutions. For further information, see www.nvpllc.com.


Further information

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