FirstHop secures

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First Hop, the proven leader in mobile middleware, announces the closing of its second financing round with Partech International as lead investor, with existing investors DFJ ePlanet Ventures and Stratos Ventures, participating in a total round of 7.2M. First Hop Ltd (Finland) offers software products to mobile operators and mobile service providers for the delivery and business management of wireless content services.

First Hops international expansion was initially financed by a seed round (0.7M) in July 2000 by Stratos Ventures and the first round of financing (8.5M) in June 2001 lead by Draper Fisher Jurvetson ePlanet Ventures. In the past three years, First Hop has successfully established itself as one of the leading vendors of mobile service delivery and business management software products across Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. The second round of financing will further speed up the companys product development, customer service ramp-up and market expansion, and help take the business to the next level of growth.

Helmut Schön, General Partner at Partech International, will join the First Hop Board. Our work in the mobile space highlighted that continuous growth in value added services, e.g. messaging, browsing and download services, is increasingly leading to issues with mobile operators existing software platforms. These issues are particularly related to managing content provisioning and service management in a fully automated and standardized way. First Hop addresses exactly these needs. The company is well on its way to becoming the recognized market leader in providing end-to-end solutions for wireless content delivery through any channel (SMS, MMS, WAP Push, WAP, and TCP/IP) and thus form the core of a mobile operators service delivery platform. I was particularly impressed by the management team's vision and drive in building a global business".

The companys product suite, First Hop® Wireless Broker, enables mobile operators and service providers to develop their role as a strategic point of control in wireless content business. The product suite allows managing the end-to-end process of wireless content delivery through all the relevant channels. The key products, Message Router, Wireless Internet Router, Service Manager, and Wireless Accelerator have been deployed in over 40 mobile networks worldwide, such as Vodafone, T-Mobile, and Orange, serving over 200 million mobile users accessing value added services.

Timo Laaksonen, Chief Executive Officer of First Hop comments: We aim to provide mobile operators and mobile service providers with the markets most complete, integrated suite of wireless content delivery and business management products. Our focus areas of service provisioning & management, content provider management, multi-channel content delivery, and charging and business management are core requirements in every operators service delivery platform. The unique competitive edge of First Hop® Wireless Broker stems from combining the service and business innovations of our global lead customers with our own skills in developing carrier-grade software products." Timo Laaksonen continues on the financing round: The 7.2M injection of new capital into First Hop, and the entry of Partech International, a seasoned, mobile-savvy VC into our team, provides us with the ideal framework for not only developing our current products further and launching new ones, but also for expanding our business reach into new geographies".

Dennis Atkinson, Senior Vice President at DFJ ePlanet adds: We are delighted with First Hops progress, especially with the rapid pace of customer acquisition in all corners of the world, and the increasing size and importance of each opportunity won. This round of expansion capital will allow the company to build on its leading position and deliver what we believe is the clearest articulation of the future of mobile infrastructure software."

Summa Corporate Finance (Helsinki) acted as First Hops advisor in the financing round.

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