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Upstream Systems

Making new connections

Region: Global, Pan-emerging markets Investment date: 2014 Sector: Private Equity Exit date: Deal type: Replacement Status date: Current

There are currently around 2.3bn mobile phone subscribers in growth markets. On average, they spend more than two hours a day playing, texting and talking on their phones. They also spend up to one eighth of their disposable income on or via their mobile devices.

Mobile monetisation company Upstream helps telecom operators sell additional services to their customers. The company was a pioneer when it started in 2001; today, it is a leader in the field. Its clients include the Vodafone Group, MTN, T-Mobile and Etisalat (its largest markets are Brazil, Nigeria and Egypt) and it has direct marketing and billing access to 1.2 billion consumers across 43 countries.

Upstream has already generated an estimated $1bn of incremental revenue for its clients but with the sector set to keep growing apace, the company wants to conquer new markets and diversify its service offering. It has already opened new offices in Malaysia and South Africa.

With its 60 years’ experience in emerging markets and track record in backing ambitious entrepreneurs, Actis was an ideal partner to help fulfil Upstream’s ambitions. The firm is working alongside Marco Veremis, Upstream’s founder and CEO, and his top-class management team.

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