Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to lead global push for ethical phone group TPO as it lists in London

Catherine Neilan
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TPO: The ethical phone operator is planning to use capital from its London listing to grow rapidly throughout the world (Source: TPO)
Ethical mobile phone company The People's Operator (TPO) is looking to list on London as it seeks capital to help fund global expansion using a similar model to Wikipedia.
The London-based company, which allows users to donate 10 per cent of their monthly bill to charity, is planning to launch onto Aim in November. FinnCap is acting on the proposed fundraising and admission.
Under Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who is TPO's executive director of strategy and digital community, the mobile operator plans to use its proceeds to create communities of people around causes, either locally or globally, through viral marketing and partnerships with community organisations.
TPO's statement said: “This is a similar model to Wikipedia, which is one of the world's largest digital communities with over 500 million readers monthly, translated into 287 languages and available in every country in the world.”
TPO currently has more than 10,000 subscribers, and has built its base rapidly from almost half that number at the end of June. It claims to have a lower churn rate and acquisition cost than the industry average, as well as higher revenue per subscriber.
The company said its business model was “rapidly scalable into new markets”, and is targeting the US for its first launch outside of the UK next year. The ethical model, which also includes a 25 per cent donation from its profits to a charity in its name, will be exported internationally.
TPO has recently signed an operating agreement with US-based wireless network operator Sprint Corporation, which has more than 53 million customers.
As well as Wales, the company's senior team includes chairman Andrew Rosenfeld, who founded property investment group Minerva, chief executive Mark Epstein who co-founded campaign agency Mass1, and finance director Matt Lea, who has worked at a range of multinationals including Shell, BT and Capital One.
Non-executive directors include Apax Partner's Gary Hughes, White Star Capital founder Christian Hernandez Gallardo and finance veteran Marisa Cassoni.
Rosenfeld said: "We started TPO from a warehouse in east London, and in less than two years' trading, the company is now poised for global expansion. Our operating deal with Sprint Corporation along with Jimmy's plans for viral online growth will, I believe, have a dramatic impact on revenues and thereby deliver significant returns to shareholders."

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