Sofinnova Ventures, Telesystem-Argo Global Capital and Sofinnova Partners Invest $10 Million in European Wireless Data Services Company Sofinnova Ventures Leads International Syndicate of Investors to Finance

VoluBill, a Mobile Internet Billing Company That is the First Spin-Off From

Cegetel Group, France's First Private Enterprise Global Telecommunications

Operator



    SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Sofinnova Ventures, a diversified
 venture firm specializing in early-stage information technology and life
 science companies, today announced an investment round of 11 million Euros
 ($10 million) to launch VoluBill, a mobile Internet billing solutions company.
 Also participating in the investment are Telesystem-Argo Global Capital of
 Montreal, Canada and Sofinnova Partners of Paris, France.
     VoluBill is the spin-off from Cegetel Group, the first private sector
 global operator in France with nearly 15 million subscribers.  Cegetel Group
 has an 18% equity stake in the company, which is based in Grenoble, France.
     Sofinnova Ventures Principal Eric Buatois said, "The mobile data and
 Internet business is evolving toward a retail/wholesale model with fewer
 intermediaries.  VoluBill will help mobile operators become full billing
 aggregators for all the services provided through mobile devices."  He added,
 "VoluBill's management team has deep experience addressing the challenges that
 currently face telecom operators.  And, along with their expertise in
 international business development and strong product development focus,
 VoluBill's leadership has the full complement of skills to successfully serve
 this market niche."
     VoluBill is launching a one-stop charging solution that enables service
 providers to bill content services in both pre-paid and post-paid modes and
 notifies the users of transaction costs prior to connection.  The VoluBill
 product, the Dialog Control and Charging Platform, is based on advanced
 reliable hardware and software that can easily feed combined content and
 traffic information to the existing billing systems, minimizing disruption and
 installation time.
     Olivier Protard, General Partner at Sofinnova Partners in Paris, said,
 "Detailed content billing will be one of the key success factors for the new
 generation of mobile services.  The solution provided by VoluBill is well
 positioned to account for, certify and efficiently bill new data-rich services
 to the customers of GPRS and UMTS cellular operators in Europe."
     "In the current investment environment, it is more important than ever to
 be able to recognize the exceptional opportunities -- and VoluBill certainly
 presents one," commented Vesa Jormakka, General Partner of Telesystem-Argo
 Global Capital.  "VoluBill is also a perfect fit to our existing portfolio of
 companies, which enables us to further leverage our know-how and experience in
 this exciting space."
     "We're meeting a need that currently exists in the market," concluded
 Andre Meyer, CEO and co-founder of VoluBill.  "The most promising new revenue
 stream is content -- but service providers know that effective billing for
 content has remained an impossibility until now.  By offering transaction
 information combined with traffic access information, with no necessary
 modification to the content, we can help service providers to implement
 innovative price plans."
     Global market intelligence firm IDC predicts that services revenue will
 accelerate as telecom carriers capitalize on Internet protocol opportunities.
 IDC valued the telecommunication service market at about $54 billion in 2000,
 and projects an increase to $101 billion by 2005, representing a compound
 annual growth rate of 13%.  IDC qualifies this projection by adding that
 growth rates in 2001 to 2002 have inevitably been restrained as a result of
 slackening economic activity and war.
 
     About Sofinnova Ventures
     Sofinnova Ventures is a trans-Atlantic venture capital firm that is based
 in San Francisco, California.  Founded in 1974, Sofinnova is one of the oldest
 venture firms.  With $350 million under total capital management, Sofinnova
 emphasizes a diversified investment strategy through financing seed and
 early-stage companies in the communications, information technology and life
 sciences sectors.  Sofinnova's mission is to create value by providing
 entrepreneurs with the collective resources, experience and network necessary
 to build early-stage companies into profitable businesses.  With strong ties
 to Europe's leading financial, technology and venture organizations, Sofinnova
 helps U.S. companies rapidly enter Europe's growing markets, and European
 companies to develop a strong presence in U.S. markets.  Historically,
 Sofinnova has been associated with leading companies such as Biogen, Collagen,
 Genentech, Printronix, Tandon and Tandem Computers.  More recently, Sofinnova
 has invested in Actelion, Aviron, InterMune, Millennium Pharmaceuticals,
 Phone.com, Premisys, Element 14 and Tumbleweed.  For more information, visit
 www.sofinnova.com.
 
     About Telecom-Argo Global Capital
     Telesystem -- Argo Global Capital LLC is a U.S. Venture Capital firm with
 more than US$460 million of committed capital. Co-founded in 1997 by its CEO,
 H.H.Haight and by Telesystem, a private equity company in the digital economy,
 Telesystem-Argo is a leading international firm dedicated to the wireless
 industry and the convergence of wireless and the Internet.  Telesystem-Argo's
 two funds, GSM Capital Limited Partnership and ARGO II -- The Wireless
 Internet Fund Limited Partnership, have made more than 35 investments in the
 wireless sector in Europe, North America and Asia from its offices in Boston,
 Montreal, London and Hong Kong.  Major wireless operators around the World
 -- including France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, KPN, ESAT, Singapore Telecom,
 SmarTone, VoiceStream, Microcell Telecommunications and TIW -- contribute
 capital and ongoing support to Telesystem -- Argo's funds and its portfolio
 companies.  For more information, visit http://www.argoglobal.com .
 
     About Sofinnova Partners
     Sofinnova Partners is a venture capital company.  Based in Paris, the
 Sofinnova Partners team consists of 8 partners, managing close to 500 million
 euros.  Sofinnova Partners invests in start-up and early stage companies, both
 in Information Technologies and Life Sciences.  Since 1996, Sofinnova Partners
 has made 59 investments, including 34 as lead investor.  It currently sits on
 the boards of 32 companies and continues to provide active support.  For more
 information, please visit www.sofinnova.fr.
 
     About VoluBill
     Headquartered in Grenoble, France, VoluBill is a privately held mobile
 Internet billing company that is funded by Sofinnova Ventures, Telesystem-Argo
 Global Capital and Sofinnova Partners.  The company provides content billing
 enabler solutions capable of analyzing content and application-based traffic
 that generates usage data records which include both transaction and
 traffic-based information.  VoluBill's technology is also capable of injecting
 content such as price notification, location-based information and
 advertisements into the data flow from the service provider to the subscriber.
 This allows service providers to present the service price to the subscriber
 and to control how content is charged, using a mixed combination of traffic,
 volume and transaction parameters.  For more information, visit
 www.volubill.com.
 
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SOURCE Sofinnova Ventures

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