Venture capitalists' desire to cash in on the buoyant UK Internet and telecoms sectors is gaining momentum.
Two more UK Internet start-ups have received large venture capital funding to expand their presence in the UK and abroad.
Eden Capital has handed over $12 million to Oxford-based Internet start-up mondus.com, which it will spend on a global marketing campaign and opening offices in the US and Germany.
Mondus.com acts as an online middleman, matching buyers to suppliers of a range of products including office equipment and computer supplies as well as courier printing services. All communications are conducted via email.
Mondus.com chief executive Alexander Straub estimates that his company's service will reduce the time that small and medium sized businesses spend on procurement and purchasing by 80 per cent because it cuts out trawling the Yellow Pages for suppliers and comparative quotes.
To date 2000 suppliers are registered with Mondus. Buyers are reached through partnerships with small business associations.
Whether mondus.com will pose a real threat to office equipment vendors, forcing them to beef up their online operations in the way that Amazon.com made its rivals leap into the future remains to be seen.
"We don't compete with companies like Viking Direct, who in fact has a successful operation. Our service is targeted at SMEs who regularly make volume purchases, not to those who buy one telephone or 10 pencils from time to time," said Straub.
Meanwhile telecommunications systems integrator Monnet is exploiting the acute competition in the carrier market that managing director Freddie Talberg believes has led to a worsening in call quality.
Monnet's technology benchmarks the quality of voice telephony calls so that carriers can prove their service levels to customers. Its non-intrusive measurement device monitors calls irrespective of the transport technology delivering the calls, including copper lines and Internet Protocol.
The system can measure the caller's experience monitoring call connectivity for the call completion rate, network availability and delay in connection. It also measures the quality of calls once connected, including signal level, echo, delay and noise.
Initially funded personally by Talberg, the £500,000 that 3i has just invested in the company is earmarked for increasing the scale of the business to cover a large potential customer base in the UK and overseas as well as to develop additional service lines, said chief executive Simon Slater.
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