Firstream Commits $77.5 Million to Expansion

[June 20] Pan-European Internet group
Firstream announced Tuesday an investment of
$77.5 million to expand its operations in
Europe and the United States.


Among Firstream’s premier sites are the
European student portal
icicampus.com
which provides Internet access for 1.2 million students;
befoot.com, a
French football statistics site (“Tous les jours,
tout le foot — c4est BeFoot”) that is now being
readied for Italy; and the online film production and
distribution site
universtream.com.


The injection of capital into Firstream comes from
existing shareholders including Chief Executive
and President Jean-Christophe Chopin and ILFC founder
Lou Gonda, one of Idealab’s original shareholders.


“The funds will be primarily dedicated to developing
our own existing Internet and telecom businesses or
to acquire majority stakes in complementary ventures
as well as established off-line businesses,” said
Chopin.


Firstream operates across a wide spectrum of
Internet-related activities, managing ISPs while also
providing unified messaging, virtual desktop,
click-to-talk, virtual storage and Web collaboration
services. Its annual revenues approach $4 million.


Chopin, who developed E*Trade in France, Benelux
and Italy then sold the business back to E*Trade,
believes that Firstream’s B2B operations will show
especially strong growth in coming months. The
company’s B2B subsidiary already deals with 600
companies.


Yet another side of Firstream’s business is the
French online advertising agency
ideadvert.com,
a service that Firstream plans to roll out in
Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K.


Other B2B operations include a specialist online
insurance service provider named Assuronline, which
Firstream says has over 15,000 customers, and CIL,
a French e-logistic/delivery service.

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