ATLANTA, GA. — In its first infusion of venture capital funding in five years. Air2Web, a provider of mobile messaging and marketing applications, has landed $25 million and an international headliner as an investor.
The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity funds with more than $44 billion under management, led the new round of investment in the Atlanta-based company.
The third round of funding boosted Air2Web’s venture total to some $77 million, according to Private Equity Wire. Air2Web, which was founded in 1999, has offices in the United Kingdom, France and India.
Existing investors Vantage Point, UPS and company founder Jay Chaudhry also participated in the round.
The company plans to expand its global footprint and expand its product offerings. Air2Web offers customers one platform for development and delivery of mobile marketing campaigns, including text messaging, alerts and multimedia.
“The market for mobile marketing products and services is taking off quickly,” said Jay Koh, a principal with The Carlyle Group, who will join the Air2Web board of directors as part of the deal. “We looked extensively for the best platform company to back in a rapidly growing and maturing market, and selected Air2Web as the early market leader with a strong management team, carrier proven technology and a successful track record of executing volume campaigns for leading global advertisers and brand marketers.”
Some recent data indicates how lucrative the mobile market is.
The latest statistics from Wireless Intelligence show that 2.4 billion “mobile connections” as of the end of the second quarter of 2006. Although the number includes people with multiple accounts and inactive pre-paid accounts, the mobile connections number has more than doubled since 2002.
And a January report from the Wireless World Forum forecast that wireless data revenues would increase by 68 percent to $17.5 billion in 2007 in the U.S. market alone.
Air2Web already has a lengthy list of high-profile customers, such as American Express, Cingular, The Weather Channel and UPS.
“Air2Web is well positioned in a rapidly growing market with blue chip customers, a global presence and scalable technology platform,” said Sanjoy Malik, Air2Web’s chief executive officer. “This new investment will help us leverage our strengths to consolidate our position as a leader in the mobile marketing space.”
Current product offerings include: