Mobile Future at Overnet Data

Sunday Business (London, England), August 20, 2000 | Go to article overview

Mobile Future at Overnet Data


OVERNET Data is the latest in a growing list of technology, media and telecoms companies to make a meteoric debut on the stock market.

Since floating on Aim at the end of last month at 115p, shares in the company

which develops business applications for Wap phones and other hand-held devices have climbed steadily, hitting 485p last week. But given widespread speculation that the Wap revolution may prove a damp squib, might OverNet join the ranks of Net stocks where a brilliant rise is followed by an equally dramatic fall?

'It's a little too early to say that Wap is dead,' says Overnet's chief executive James Laurence, who dismisses the theory that second and third-generation devices will wipe out Wap. 'We think that way people use their phones is going to change.'

The vision is one that Laurence who created the technology behind one of London's first electronic bond derivative markets shares with a handful of high-profile backers. Henry Beker, founder and chairman of Baltimore Technologies, has a 6.5% stake in OverNet and a seat on the board. The directors of Vodafone are also fans: OverNet recently struck an agreement with the mobile phone giant to supply applications to the company's business customer base.

The key to OverNet's future success, according to Laurence, is that its focus is not on delivering horoscopes and sports results to a fickle consumer market, but on providing business solutions to medium-sized corporations.

Since its launch in March last year, OverNet has provided wireless applications such as job allocation systems and supply-chain management software for a broad range of users. The company also provides a wireless systems integration service, which provides technology that enables staff to access corporate intranets, phone books or e-mail using their mobile phones. …

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