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Technology company IntelliOne successfully financed by Alexander Capital

Atlanta’s IntelliOne Technologies Corp. has raised $14.5 million — money the traffic information company will use to accelerate growth domestically and overseas. IntelliOne’s software zeroes in on cell phones in moving vehicles and measures their speed of movement to map traffic flow and travel times.

In early 2009, IntelliOne will offer location-based services to cell phones, even those without GPS. In addition to driving directions and real-time rerouting, the service will allow subscribers to, for instance, search for the lowest gas price en route, or get notified if friends happen to be nearby.

Real-time traffic information and location-based services delivered by companies like IntelliOne, experts said, will help wireless carriers better compete with Google and Microsoft, which offer similar services via mobile applications. Expanding data offerings is imperative for wireless carriers as advertising gravitates to the ubiquitous cell phone.

Mapping services is a growth market: 7.5 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers accessed mapping services via their phone from March through May 2008, Advertising Age reported. That figure grew 82 percent over the same period last year.

Location-based services can generate multiple revenue streams for wireless carriers, said Lewis Ward, an analyst at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC. The technology, for instance, can enable a retailer to advertise a sale via mobile phone to consumers who happen to be in the neighborhood.

“These sorts of ... technologies help extend the value of what mobile network operators do,” Ward said.

IntelliOne markets its service to wireless carriers, with whom it has revenue-sharing agreements. By December 2009, the company expects to have contracts with carriers in 18 countries, including Germany, India and China.

The company is in talks with AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA to roll out traffic and location-based services in the United States, IntelliOneCEO Ronald Herman said. A deal is expected to be done by year’s end, with a nationwide rollout planned within six months of that.

Having inked a contract with Canada’s Rogers Wireless this year, Herman has big ambitions. IntelliOne expects to nearly triple its global workforce to about 120 by the end of next year. Revenues are projected to grow to about $20 million next year, up from $3 million this year. Much of that growth will come from Asia and Europe, Herman said, where mobile phone carriers are more aggressive in offering their customers location-based services.

IntelliOne’s traffic-flow information “could be a killer service in our view because the old adage ‘time is money’ definitely applies here,” Toronto-based Genuity Capital Markets noted in a 2007 report. “How much would you pay for a service that saved you a half-hour of travel time by re-routing you through an intelligent backway to the airport?”

Cell phone-based traffic monitoring is less expensive than traditional monitoring technologies, Herman said. For every $1,000 spent on traditional technologies like cameras, road sensors and aerial surveillance, he said, cell phone-based monitoring costs a penny.

IntelliOne’s ability to deliver real-time traffic data and also match it up with navigation applications and other information services, made the company an attractive investment, said Christopher Payne    , managing partner at Genuity Capital Partners, a Toronto-based private equity firm, that led IntelliOne’s $14.5 million financing round. Genuity Capital Partners is an affiliate of Genuity Capital Markets.

IntelliOne’s service, however, is only as accurate and timely as the number of cell phone network subscribers driving on the roads. The fewer subscribers on a roadway, the less data IntelliOne’s servers have to work with. And while the software can spot gridlock, it can’t tell what’s causing it.

Mapping traffic flow across a wireless carrier’s nationwide network isn’t easy, said Vincent Zappa, vice president of engineering at Atlanta-based AirSage Inc., which collects cell phone data from Sprint Nextel Corp. to map traffic flow and travel times.

IntelliOne must prove its software can crunch the vast amounts of cell phone data generated from a nationwide network accurately and quickly, to map traffic flow effectively, Zappa said.

IntelliOne, whose service is available in a handful of North American and European cities, said it has the infrastructure to process information from 300 million cell phones, at any given time.

IntelliOne Technologies Corp.
Background: The Atlanta-based company uses cell phone signals from moving vehicles to gauge traffic flow and travel times. IntelliOne will soon offer location-based services to cell phones, even those without GPS.
Employees: 45 full-time, including 40 in the United States
Annual revenue: $3 million

Source: IntelliOne Technologies Corp.

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