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Upoc Snags $18 Million

Online wireless play Upoc has closed an $18 million B round of funding, topping the $12 million it was seeking in September.

Patricof & Co.Ventures, Inc. and Advent International were joined in the round by Tribune Ventures and 550 Digital Media Ventures, a Sony Group company. Allen & Company and Arts Alliance, which took part in the company's A round of funding, also participated.

The company, which originated as a free teen targeted wireless content play, has expanded its business model to include charging monthly licensing fees to well known brands who want a wireless conduit to their users. Greg Clayman, co-founder and vice president of marketing for Upoc, says the company operates as an ASP, building out the wireless technology for firms looking to maintain a wireless presence. Upoc bills between $20,000 to $30,000 to develop online chat communities, and upwards of $100,000 to develop wireless applications for large multinational firms. The rates are contingent upon the size of the client's community, but the service is free to users.

The company also charges a monthly licensing fee that is based on audience size, which can run up to $5,000.

Originally, Upoc was seeking a $12 million B round of funding, but the company received an additional $6 million as investors grew interested in ASP marketplace opportunities.

"Upoc fits into our strategy of investing in enabling applications that drive adoption of wireless technology," said Tori Hackett, partner at Arts Alliance. "We believe that Upoc will drive huge growth in wireless voice and data usage."

Clayman said the capital would allow Upoc to build out its technology and offer more services and features. So far, Upoc offers non-community services atypical of the wireless space, including mobile coupons that can be redeemed at participating brands, like Delias which has an offline presence. Upoc takes a percentage of each transaction that originates with a coupon.

Upoc, which has 46 employees, has partnerships with VoiceStream and AT&T's mobile Internet services, which provide its clients national distribution networks with which to communicate with their customers.