Larry Lisser
Larry Lisser is a seasoned startup leader with a passion for commercializing emerging communications companies. Larry helps voice and collaboration...
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Larry Lisser | January 03, 2011 |


EmergComm Entrepreneurs fire up $45M+ in Q4

EmergComm Entrepreneurs fire up $45M+ in Q4 This gang has played a pivotal role in pushing communications to the cloud, and in creating a community that thinks more like the web--and less like the telco.

This gang has played a pivotal role in pushing communications to the cloud, and in creating a community that thinks more like the web--and less like the telco.

What a difference a year can make. Scratch that...comparing 2009 to 2010 is b-o-r-i-n-g.

But the closing quarter of 2010 was anything but boring for a growing crop of entrepreneurs in the emerging communications sector. In 2008 I wrote often about the surge of new blood entering the communications space, many of whom who hailed from anything but telecom. This gang has played a pivotal role in pushing communications to the cloud, and in creating a community that thinks more like the web--and less like the telco.

Now a few years later, a handful of these CEOs just got themselves bountiful top-ups from investors, in the closing weeks of 2010:

GroupMe: What a story. Founded over a weekend at a TechDisrupt event and built on the Twilio platform, Jared Hecht and his team have had the year of their lives. The company, which provided group texting capability, raised a angel round within a few months of the product launch then not 6 months later raised $9M! Side note: Twitter had a good look at them but bowed out when the valuation climbed over $30M

TokBox: I give this group high marks for the guts to pivot to keep the dream alive. What was originally a basic video chat platform built on the Adobe platform, is now re-branded and re-positioning as OpenTok – the first fully open video chat platform for developers. While the world (well, some of it) waits for Skype to open up, it will fun to see what $12M and a channel filled with developers will do with a simple integration tool kit like OpenTok. Their mission: Bring the (video) conversation to the content, instead of the other way around.

Twilio: If you have not heard of Twilio by now, you’re probably not reading this post. In their case--like OpenTok--the $12M they just raised not only propels this set of brash entrepreneurs but also the huge community of developers Twilio's outreach tactics have nurtured. Expect lots of texting-based applications to come from this community in '11.

Ifbyphone: A year ago we wrote about CEO Irv Shapiro and his acquisition of CloudVox. This time, we tell the tale of plenty more funding for the other Chicago-based startup. With well established traction delivering voice applications that automate sales and marketing business processes for the SMB, Shapiro just secured the National Association of Realtors, through its strategic investment fund Second Century Ventures, as a strategic partner in the round. This means close collaboration to build and deploy applications designed for realtors. Not a bad channel....

Ring Revenue: And last--not counting those who closed smaller, non-announced rounds--Jason Spievak in beautiful Santa Barbara also topped-up in time to go global with Ring Revenue’s call performance marketing business. Leveraging the extraordinary reach of the Affiliate Marketing Networks as their channel to market, RingRevenue is helping advertisers prove out--or not--that their content generates phone calls, and not only clicks.

Not bad for a 6 week period. Happy New Year, all.


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