Nimbuzz, a Rotterdam-based mobile VoIP and IM provider, has raised $15 million in Series B funding. Naspers/MIH led the round, and was joined by return backer Mangrove Capital Partners.
Read the peHUB interview with Nimbuzz CEO EJ Lugt.
Nimbuzz (http://www.nimbuzz.com), the comprehensive mobile VoIP and IM provider that also brings IM and voice to social networks, has raised $15 million Second Round funding. The new round of funding was led by Naspers/MIH with Nimbuzz’s other major existing investor Mangrove Capital Partners also participating.
Nimbuzz will use this latest funding to continue to develop its product offering into the most comprehensive and user friendly application for the widest range of handsets, across multiple IM and Social Network communities and in any country.
Founder and CEO Evert Jaap Lugt commented: “We are actively working on strategic distribution deals with leading social networks and mobile operators. It is our aim to blend our technology with existing mobile internet access to upgrade the value chain for business and consumers alike. Operators understand the need for services like Nimbuzz which provide traffic and drive the demand for mobile data plans, an ever more important revenue stream.”
“Nimbuzz brings IM and voice to social networks,” adds Lugt. “By incorporating our applications, social networks can offer their users fully integrated real-time communication services like voice calls, chat, file sharing and access to their friends in other popular IM communities such as Skype, AIM, Yahoo, MSN and GTalk. Additionally, their online social networking experience can be extended to the mobile phone, allowing them to become completely connected.”
Deals with 10 major social networks and 3 operators are already on the table. The extent of the Nimbuzz product portfolio to date has confirmed the investors’ confidence in the companies’ potential to stay on top of technology advancements and in turn become an integral part of day to day mobile and internet communication.
“We are well on the way to realising this aim with more than 1, 000,000 registered mobile users and more than 5,000 joining each day. The renewed commitment from our investors, coupled with our impressive growth, gives us important additional leverage in our discussions with both operators looking for ways to generate loyalty amongst consumers and social networks enabling free chat and voice communication within their community. The uptake of applications such as Nimbuzz is driving mobile internet traffic and in turn accelerating the demand for flat rate mobile data plans, a big win for consumers and network operators alike.”
The continued introduction of flat rate mobile data plans provided by operators across Europe is a sure sign of the importance of mobile internet services to the future communications industry. Analysts such as IDC (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS21219408) suggest VoIP will lead the communication evolution and predict that there will be around half a billion worldwide personal IP communications subscribers by 2012. With the benefit of this latest funding Nimbuzz will continue to capitalise on this market opportunity and build important win-win relationships with forward-thinking operators and strategic partners across the world.
Nimbuzz has grown rapidly and now employs 70 people. It has opened offices in Argentina and Brazil, where it has partnered with Abril, the largest media company in the country. With the benefit of this latest funding the team will work to extend Nimbuzz’s reach to other platforms including Windows Mobile, iPhone and Android and will implement additional social and presence-based features to its clients. Announcements on these and other developments are expected later this year.
In 2007 Nimbuzz raised $10 million in funding, led by Mangrove Capital Partners with investments from Naspers / MIH Group and Holtzbrinck Ventures. This money was used for the development of the current product offering, which allows users who download Nimbuzz access to free mobile VoIP calling, conference calling, instant messaging, chat and group chat, as well as photo and file sending across multiple IM communities (including Skype, MSN, Google Talk, Yahoo!, AIM, Jabber and ICQ). It also offers a widget which provides voice to 23 social networks, including Facebook and MySpace – all from a single application.
The genuine Nimbuzz mobile VoIP works worldwide on Symbian Series 60 devices when connected using a 3G or Wifi network. However users with only a GPRS/EDGE connections, or using Java-enabled phones, can also make international mobile VoIP calls using the Nimbuzz “hybrid-VoIP” solution (as used by other providers like Truphone and Skype) – for making international mobile calls at local dial-in cost – in as many as 50 countries. Impressively, the development that has already gone into Nimbuzz means it works on more than 500 handsets worldwide.
About Nimbuzz (http://www.nimbuzz.com)
Nimbuzz offers a social interaction service combining presence, IM, and VoIP. The free application is available on the mobile phone, PC and Web, for (group)calling, instant messaging, (group)chat, file sharing across popular IM communities, including Skype, MSN, GTalk, Yahoo!, AIM, ICQ, plus 23 social networks including Facebook and MySpace.
About Naspers (http://www.naspers.com)
Naspers is a multinational media company with principal operations in electronic media (including pay-television, internet and instant-messaging subscriber platforms and the provision of related technologies) and print media (including the publishing, distribution and printing of magazines, newspapers and books). The group creates media content, builds brand names around it, and manages the platforms distributing the content.. Naspers’s most significant operations are located in South Africa, where it generates most of its revenues, with other operations located elsewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, China, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Brazil, the Netherlands, the USA, India and Thailand.
About Mangrove Capital Partners (http://www.mangrove-vc.com)
Mangrove Capital Partners provides venture capital with a punch to entrepreneurs looking to build world class companies. We look to invest in companies operating Internet or Software businesses as early as possible in their development. We are particularly comfortable investing prior to product launch and view our role as an accelerator of growth and a partner for the journey to success. We expect to be alongside the company at all phases of this journey and encourage entrepreneurs to fulfill their vision, without any concessions.
Mangrove Capital Partners has been the first institutional investor to invest in many of the following portfolio companies: Skype, Securewave, Dialcom Networks, Piczo, Quintura, Properazzi, Brickfish, and Jambaz.