The investment, completed on April 17, 2014, was led by bankers from Technology, Media & Telecom Group as well as from Harris Williams & Co.’s London and San Fransisco offices.
“Upstream has delivered tremendous growth over recent years, which is testament to the strength of the management team and of the demand fulfillment marketing platform it has developed since its inception in 2001,” said Thierry Monjauze, head of Harris Williams & Co.’s London office and a managing director in the firm’s TMT Group.
“Following the investment, Upstream will leverage Actis’ relationships and expertise to expand its customer base and solution suite and drive continued expansion,” added Mike Wilkins, a managing director in Harris Williams & Co.’s TMT Group.
Upstream is the industry leader in emerging markets mobile monetisation. Upstream works with mobile operators, ecommerce brands and app developers in 40 markets helping them to sell their products to mobile consumers through sophisticated demand fulfillment marketing campaigns, while increasing customer loyalty and providing deep customer insights. Its clients include the Vodafone Group, Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM), MTN, T-Mobile and Etisalat. Upstream has direct marketing and billing access to more than 1 billion emerging market consumers through their mobile handsets, offering them personalised propositions. The company has already generated an estimated $1 billion of incremental revenue for its clients and grew its revenues by 61% in 2013 with new services and markets being added on a monthly basis.
“Actis has a first-class reputation as an emerging market investor. Its track record of partnering with founder and entrepreneur management teams is exceptional,” commented Marco Veremis, CEO and founder of Upstream. “Upstream will benefit from Actis’s deep expertise in emerging markets and its highly complementary regional presence. Upstream’s founders and management team are glad to see Actis subscribing to our vision and look forward to a close collaboration in executing our high growth strategic expansion plan for the coming years.” Veremis has led the business since its foundation and will continue to lead the company after Actis’ investment.
Actis invests exclusively in the emerging markets with a growing portfolio of investments in Asia, Africa and Latin America; it currently has $7 billion funds under management. Combining the expertise of more than 120 investment professionals on the ground in nine countries, Actis identifies investment opportunities in three areas: private equity, energy and real estate. Actis is proud to actively and positively grow the value of those companies in which it invests and in so doing, contribute to broader society.
Harris Williams & Co., a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE:PNC), is a preeminent middle market investment bank focused on the advisory needs of clients worldwide. The firm has deep industry knowledge, global transaction expertise and an unwavering commitment to excellence. Harris Williams & Co. provides sell-side and acquisition advisory, restructuring advisory, board advisory, private placements and capital markets advisory services.
Harris Williams & Co.’s TMT Group has experience across a broad range of sectors, including software, internet and digital media and infrastructure solutions. Within these segments, the TMT Group focuses on targeted subsectors including application software, data and informatics, eCommerce, education technology, energy technology, financial technology, healthcare IT, infrastructure software, IT and tech-enabled services, mobile, online advertising and marketing services, public sector software and telecom, data center and networking solutions. For more information on the firm’s TMT Group and other recent transactions, visit the TMT Group website.
Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member of FINRA and SIPC, and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Harris Williams & Co. is a trade name under which Harris Williams LLC and Harris Williams & Co. Ltd conduct business.