iSkoot Raises $7 Million in Series B Financing
Charles River Ventures, Khosla Ventures, ZG Ventures, and Jesselson Capital Corp fund iSkoot’s drive to become leader in mobile Skype solutions
CAMBRIDGE, MA – February 27, 2007 – iSkoot, the leading provider of mobile Internet communications solutions, today announced that it has secured $7 million in Series B financing. iSkoot has become the leader in mobile VoIP solutions, recently working in close partnership with Skype to enable The 3 Group to become the first mobile operator to bring Skype-enabled mobile phones to consumers. iSkoot software was pre-loaded onto Nokia and Sony Ericsson handsets used by The 3 Group to launch the industry’s first mobile Skype service.
The round was led by Charles River Ventures and includes previous investors Khosla Ventures, ZG Ventures, and Jesselson Capital Corp. As part of this funding round, Izhar Armony, a general partner at Charles River Ventures, will join iSkoot’s Board of Directors and lend his considerable expertise to developing and delivering new media products into high-growth markets. This financing follows a previous $6.2 million Series A round of funding, bringing funding to a total of $13.2 million in the past year. iSkoot will use the funding to expand its sales, R&D and marketing efforts, and further establish its leadership position in the emerging mobile Internet communications market.
“We believe that a mobile solution for Internet calls will become a major new way for people to communicate, and iSkoot is at the vanguard of this movement. The iSkoot management team has deep industry knowledge and a long and successful entrepreneurial track record in streaming digital media; we bought into the team’s mission to free Internet calling from the PC and make it ubiquitous,” said Izhar Armony, general partner, Charles River Ventures. “iSkoot offers mobile operators a field-tested solution and a powerful new way to communicate, by allowing them to participate in the exploding volume of Internet calls. We look forward to working with iSkoot management to bring more visionary mobile products to this very promising market.”
iSkoot Founder and CEO Jacob Guedalia said, “This investment from Charles River Ventures and our returning investors validates iSkoot’s vision and execution. We look at Skype as a company that showed the world a new way of calling. We would like iSkoot to be known as the company that brought Internet calling to all mobile phones. We will continue to work with mobile operators and handset manufacturers to bring more mobile phone models to market preloaded with iSkoot software to enable ubiquitous mobile-to-PC calling. By embedding iSkoot in their handsets, mobile operators can satisfy user demand for Skype and expand average revenue per user, a clear win-win situation.”
“Changes in traditional communications will accelerate over the next decade” said Vinod Khosla, partner, Khosla Ventures. “iSkoot’s approach addresses a huge market opportunity to leverage these advances and at the same time make communications simpler and easier for consumers.”
The iSkoot Board also includes Michael Jesselson, president of Jesselson Capital Corp and seed investor in ICQ.; and Miles Gilburne, a managing member of ZG Ventures, Co-Chair Chairman of ePals Foundation and former Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and board member at AOL/Time Warner.
In recent months, iSkoot has entered into a co-marketing and development partnership with eBay Inc.-owned Skype, and landed its first mobile carrier for its Skype-to-mobile service. iSkoot targeted its PC-to-mobile plug-in at Skype’s PC-based voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) service, and the iSkoot client software was certified by Skype earlier this year. Skype, which was acquired by eBay, is the largest PC-based voice calling service, with more than 100 million subscribers. The carrier deal with The 3 Group, a U.K.-based division of Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., marks the first carrier offering of a Skype-to-mobile service. The iSkoot software will come preloaded on certain carrier phones, including Nokia and Sony Ericsson handsets. Skype allows users to make calls from a PC to other PCs or landline phones, while iSkoot’s software allows Skype calls to be received on mobile handsets. iSkoot is developing similar mobile products for other IM and social network communities.
San Francisco-based iSkoot brings leading internet services like Skype to mobile handsets around the world, delivering rich consumer experiences with minimal impact on operator networks.
iSkoot launched the first and only carrier-grade, carrier-deployed Skype-for-Mobile application in 2006, and now powers the Mobile World Congress award-winning 3 Skypephone currently sold in eight countries on three continents.
iSkoot takes advantage of the voice-optimized circuit-switched network for delivery of voice communications, in keeping with its mission to engineer elegant and operator-friendly solutions to the challenge of bringing resource-intensive internet services to mobile handsets.
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