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Mobivox Series B comes up big!

Montreal's Mobivox has just raised an $11 million series B financing. Existing investors Brightspark Ventures and Skypoint Capital participated, as well as IDG Ventures Boston, IDG Ventures Vietnam and IDG Ventures China.  According to CEO Stephane Marceau, the funds will be used for marketing and expansion into asian markets.  In addition, Mobivox today unveiled a new website and new features for their service. 

So, what do they do?  If you can remember Wildfire, then you'll have a fair idea. This is how Mobivox works:

  • Contact any person by simply dialing a local number and saying the name of the person you would like to call to the automated attended (the aptly named VoxGirl) – eliminating the need for long authorization codes, passwords.
  • Call from any phone to use Mobivox. Just register online and start making calls in minutes from your mobile, PC or landline. No hardware or software is required.

It's that simple.  Plus VoxGirl can give you access to an array of other easy to use features.  Want to add another party to your call?   Press * and tell VoxGirl to add that party to the call.  How about FMC scenarios like handing your call off from a mobile device to a landline?  Press * and tell VoxGirl to transfer the call.

Perhaps the most important feature though is the very economical business model.  Calls between MobiVox users, or between MobiVox users and Skype users are free.  Calls to non-MobiVox users are charged at very economical VoIP rates (I chatted with my son in Southern Ontario for 1.9 cents per minute).  And all calls are to a local dial-in number.  Combine that with a calling plan that gives unlimited calling to specified numbers (like Rogers MyFive, or T-Mobile MyFaves) and users can pretty much eliminate egregious cellular rates for ever.

Wildfire died, primarily because of the outrageous cost of its business model and spotty voice recognition.  It was an idea before its time.  In Mobivox, it looks as if that decade old vision has been resurrected with a viable business model and technology platform, and this time around the market may be ready for it.

Congratulations to Stephane and his team in Montreal — both on their successful fund raise, and impressive offering.

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • anonymous October 11, 2007, 9:23 am

    Mobility?

    I.e., I initiate a call from my mobile phone and talk to my buddy who is on Skype in Netherlands.
    I reach home and want to continue on Skype
    I authenticate on Skype

    Is MobiVox smart enough to switch from Mobile Handset to Skype while maintaining call control?

  • anonymous October 11, 2007, 11:28 am

    I dont see anything spectacular in this innovation.

    Where is presence?
    Where is unified communications?
    Where is True VoIP?

    back-hauling calls on VoIP backbones has existed for a decade as well. To me it seems like MobiVox is doing just that with a VoXGirl powered IVR.

    Maybe I am wrong …

  • Alec October 11, 2007, 12:03 pm

    Ah… good questions.

    Presence is there as is VoIP. You can query VoxGirl, for instance, to see which of your Skype buddies is available. And you can also connect to people on Skype, SIP, or IAX.

  • nowhere October 11, 2007, 12:45 pm

    Jaxtr is cooler and more powerful.

  • Mobivox October 11, 2007, 2:45 pm

    Alec – You are right that Mobivox can seamlessly and dynamically hand calls from any handset, fixed or mobile, regardless of carrier, handset model, etc.. Mobivox is about making it easy and cheap to call from any
    fixed or mobile phone.
    Many of us in the tech world use headsets all the time and spend tons of time in front of our computers but the average consumer prefers to deal with a good old handset. In fact, we find that many of our users now often pick up their phone to call people on Skype even when they are in front of their PC. That is why we have decided to make the "phone experience" our top priority.

  • Erik October 11, 2007, 4:25 pm

    Congrats to Mobivox, great work! Looks like it's shaping up to be a great year for Canadian Telephony!

  • anonymous October 11, 2007, 4:30 pm

    Mobivox and Alec

    Thanks for your responses. Seems really cool!
    UC is a step away if the company wants to head in that direction.

  • Alec October 11, 2007, 4:51 pm

    Anonymous — that’s a good question. It can definitely call a person who is using Skype, and it can definitely hand off the call from your mobile handset to another handset, like a landline at your house. I’ve done both. I haven’t tried handing it off to Skype. And I can’t find documentation on how to do that online, so I am not sure if that particular scenario is possible.

  • Andrew October 11, 2007, 7:07 pm

    Mobivox is most well done. I have been a big proponent of 'don't hand your Skype password to anyone' but that was more out of fear of a fly by night company being lax with it. Having played with the service today there is some really solid technology at work here, and very well thought out.

    With the exception of the 'importing you skype buddies' engine, which I realize is only as good as the names in there profile – as I have many many hundreds of contacts and it got some names, didn't other – and appears to have left me with a rather daunting task of renaming/grouping/mapping etc. This is pretty exciting and awesome that it is Canadian.

    Question for the Mobivox guys.. What about an API?? Is it on the roadmap? If so how soon.

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