With $18M Funding, SMS Cloud Carrier Nexmo Revving Up to Add Voice

Since Nexmo founded its API-based business in 2010, the SMS cloud carrier has done amazingly well. Now the company just received $18 million in fresh funding (on top of the $3 million it got a year ago), which CEO Tony Jamous says it will use to expand offerings to include what many have been waiting for: voice.

Nexmo offers a simple cloud API that developers can use to push and receive text messages to mobile phones all over the world via the Web. It also offers a text-to-voice API that works with landlines. The company negotiates contracts with old world telecoms everywhere, meaning you can use its API to communicate with people in 200 countries across the globe.

Rival to the larger and older Twilio, Nexmo has grown rapidly in the last few years, picking up some notable customers along the way. Airbnb uses Nexmo to send confirmation and booking alerts to its customers. Line and Viber use Nexmo for invitations and account verifications.

The recent round of series C funding was led by Sorenson Capital. Jamous says his company will use the capital to grow its current staff of 40 employees to 100 by the end of 2014. It particular, the company plans to focus on sales and marketing. “We’ve done zero marketing in the past,” Jamous told ProgrammableWeb from his office in London. He said the company just hired a VP of sales and is in the process of hiring a VP of marketing.

But the big news for developers is the upcoming addition of voice. Jamous says the company will make an official announcement and discuss details of the new offering at the end of February — timing that corresponds with the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Its voice API will be similar to what is offered by Twilio and developers can use it to create virtual PBX type offerings. While Twilio started off offering voice and later added SMS, conversely Nexmo started off with SMS and now will be adding voice.

“Our business is enabling apps to communicate with phones,” Jamous said “Today we do it with messaging. You can send a message to a pone and receive a message from a phone. Soon we will do with with voice — you can send a phone call to a phone, receive a phone call from a phone and build intelligent telephony applications like recording, calling mixing and call analytics.”

Investors valuated the company, which has headquarters in San Francisco and London, at $100 million. Nexmo had a $50 million run rate at the end of 2013. Along with the new funding, Fraser Bullock, managing director of Sorenson Capital, has joined the Nexmo board of directors.

By Amy Castor. Amy is a freelance writer for ProgrammableWeb.com. You can reach her at amycastor6@gmail.com. Connect to Amy on Twitter at @ahcastor

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