Leopard Labs hunts venture capital as funding options dwindle

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Leopard Labs hunts venture capital as funding options dwindle

Sydney start-up Leopard Labs may be forced overseas to secure additional investment as it seeks to finalise deals with carriers and mobile OS developers such as Microsoft.

Formed in 2005, Leopard Labs is best known for Mozone, a client-side tool that lets businesses manage how staff members use their company-owned mobile phones.

It currently supports the Symbian OS, but Leopards' co-founder Meg Dennis told iTnews it is prototyping Mozone "on various operating systems at the moment".

"Windows Mobile is among them," Dennis said.

"We're hoping to make some more announcements at the end of this year."

Last month, Leopard Labs inked a high-profile deal with Nokia to enable customers with E and N-series handsets to download a free trial of the client from the Nokia.mobi website.

However, future development is now under a cloud with the company so far unable to secure the capital it needs to take the next steps in the global market.

"We tried to do an investment round last year when all the noise started looming on the state of the economy," Dennis said.

"It was probably the worst time to do it. We were lining ourselves up to apply for a Commercial Ready grant so it was quite a blow when the Federal Government axed the program.

"All the private sector investment also seemed to freeze up. We're now re-assessing our options but if we can't achieve traction in our own environment we'd be looking to go overseas."

Dennis said that Leopard Labs is still in discussions with mobile OS and handset manufacturers to have Mozone sit within the OS package.

"The device is the best place for the software to sit," Dennis said.

She called on the Federal Government to "stimulate the mechanics of investment and raise the profile of how important home-grown innovations are.

"Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) and the R&D tax concession don't go far enough," she said.

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