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Mobile tech start-up backed by Russian billionaire raises $338 million for global expansion

  • Mobile connectivity start-up Truphone has raised £255 million ($338 million) from investors
  • Russian tycoon and soccer club owner Roman Abramovich's investment firm Minden participated in the fundraising
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A telecommunications start-up has raised £255 million ($338 million) from investors including Russian tycoon and soccer club owner Roman Abramovich.

London-based Truphone said Tuesday it raised the funds in a rights issue, which is when a business sells new shares.

Truphone said it would use the capital to erase all existing debt, expand its mobile business globally and partner with other firms.

"I see this latest investment as a significant vote of confidence from our investors in our growth strategy, and our ambition to continue scaling the business globally," Ralph Steffens, chief executive at Truphone, said in a statement Tuesday.

"It is an important step in achieving our long-term goal to power billions of connected devices around the world."

The firm partnered with tech giant Apple earlier this year. Truphone allows users with iPads using Apple's digital SIM card, known as an eSIM, to connect to mobile networks in several different countries.

It also offers flat-rate mobile plans which do not incur "roaming" charges when customers are abroad.

Truphone is involved in the Internet of Things (IoT) business, which promotes connectivity between computer devices and everyday objects.

Abramovich's investment vehicle Minden participated in the fundraising. He invested £70 million ($92.8 million) in Truphone in 2013. The Russian billionaire is the owner of U.K.-based soccer club Chelsea.

Vollin Holdings, an investment firm owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Abramov, also backed the investment.