Fonality gets financial boost from Intel

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Randy Savicky
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Fonality gets financial boost from Intel

Fonality, makers of Asterisk-based PBXtra and the free trixbox Asterisk-based distribution, has secured
$7 million in a Series C round led by Intel Capital with participation from existing investor, Azure Capital Partners. It's a little known fact, but Intel Capital is the largest VC funding company in the world and of course if owned by well-known Intel, Inc.

I spoke with Chris Lyman, CEO of Fonality, on Monday discuss this news. Chris said, "Fonality didn't need another round of capital, but we were intested in a strategic round if we felt that it was a business that could take us to the next level - given that we are already profitable and we still have money in the bank from the last round. It has to be very interesting to get us to move and Intel is for a lot of reasons a very interesting company." Chris also mentioned that when approached with the opportunity to leverage Intel's worldwide distribution channel as part of the funding deal, it was something Fonality couldn't pass up.

In fact, Chris stated, "What most people don't realize is that Intel is 150,000 resellers. So we're more than a little excited to get exposed to that channel." When I asked, "So as part of this announcement you'll be able to go through Intel's channel?", Chris responded, "Well, I wouldn't say that's a part of this announcement, because it's a very young relationship, but that's certainly one of the primary reasons we were interested in them as a funding partner."

I responded "So it opens the door for you to use their channel" and Chris said, "It opens the door into their channel, it opens the door potentially to a closer hardware relationship with Intel. You know, Intel has always been interested in telephony, as proven by their Dialogic investment and then recent divestiture. When they divested Dialogic it doesn't mean they aren't interested in telephony. In my opinion, they are more interested in the future of telephony versus the past."

Chris also mentioned that the VC funding would be used to increasing product innovation for both the trixbox open source platform, and the PBXtra commercial product line. Further, the funding would be used to aggressively grow its channel presence, with a strong focus on international distribution, with support from Intel.

"Pairing industry standard hardware, such as Intel server and communication platforms, with open source telephony software can create a unique ecosystem that results in lower cost, high-end features, better ease-of-use and the potential for richer telephony environments down the road," said Lisa Lambert, managing director, Software and Solutions Group, Intel Capital. "Fonality is positioned to deliver this solution to the global mid-market and increase PC penetration in the emerging market for open source telephony."

In addition, Fonality told me they will announce the trixbox Open Communications Certification (FtOCC) workshop, the first in a series of training and certification courses for the trixbox application platform. The course will be held in Los Angeles on March 5th and 6th and will focus on VoIP, PBX deployment, network assessment, telephony troubleshooting, T1/PRI training, and IP handset education. The goal of the FtOCC is to arm data VARs, system integrators and telephony professionals with the knowledge needed to deploy and manage PBX installations for businesses from 1 to 1,000 employees. For more information visit www.trixbox.org


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