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.