Truphone Nabs Largest European Series A Funding of 2006

Mobile Internet telephony start-up Truphone has announded that it has received a funding round of $24.5 million, making it the European technology sector’s largest Series A venture funding of 2006. The funding was led by Wellington Partners, a leading pan-European VC, with Independent News & Media (a global media group) and Burda Digital Ventures (a global media group) joining existing investors Eden Ventures and various angel investors.

In 2006, Truphone introduced VoIP to mass market mobile phones, enabling users to make free calls from their handsets to other Truphone users and low Internet-rate calls to any telephone worldwide. In late 2006, this was extended to free phone calls to a range of VoIP services.

Truphone’s true mobile VoIP service enables calls to be made between mobile devices entirely free of charge. Since calls are carried via Wi-Fi over the Internet, and not over a regular phone network, there are no operator charges to make or receive such calls.

As a result, using a Truphone-enabled handset to make an international call from a Wi-Fi hotspot abroad cuts out the usual, expensive, roaming charges, threatening one of the major sources of revenue for the existing cellular network operators. In addition to lowering call costs, Truphone uses Wi-Fi to provide
complementary pseudo-cellular coverage in blindspots. It is estimated that 26% of the population in the major European countries have poor/no cellular reception at home.

The new funding will provide Truphone with resources to execute its vision of fundamentally changing the economics of mobile communications and providing revolutionary new services to mobiles, increasing the base of handsets it supports and launching the Truphone service across the globe. The plan is to create a worldwide Mobile Internet Network Operator providing a free/low-cost alternative to conventional cellular network service providers.

According to Joerg Ueberla of Wellington,  “We led this round of investment because we have followed the rapid rise of VoIP on the fixed-line network and believe that VoIP will now move to mobile devices. Other players offering free/low-cost VoIP-based telephone calls require the use of a PC or a fixed-line phone. Truphone is the only player that offers truly free mobile-to-mobile calls across the world – a veritable disruption. This value proposition has been proven by thousands of users who are spread around the globe and were acquired by word of mouth within weeks of the launch of the beta version.”

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Truphone nets funding from Realtime Community | Unified Communications on January 9, 2007 12:17 PM

I haven't watched Trupone very closely, mostly because I'm not in their sweet spot as a customer and the value to me personally is low. But they get a lot of attention in other quarters. Here's a mention from StartupSquad noting their recent big fundin... Read More

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