May 25, 2022

Answering the phone at Dunder Mifflin has become one of the most iconic choruses of life at The Office, and it’s no surprise: businesses large and small have long suffered from communications, not PBXs, voicemail, cold and cold. help lines. And recently, an indispensable mobile phone, which is always with you. However, all of that is slowly but surely changing, and today the startup that hopes to lead the way in disrupting this tune is announcing funding as it finds some growth, currently as such, around 10 million calls and messages per month.

OpenPhone, which provides users with business line and related phone services through a smartphone app that in turn separates a user’s work phone from their personal mobile phone, has raised $40 million in Series B, in which it will continue to invest expansion of communications. and the collaboration services it provides, and deeper integrations with other productivity tools its customers are already using.

Tiger Global – known in the venture capital world for its big growth rounds but has recently become more active in the earlier stages, smaller investments – leads Series B, with former lenders Kraft Ventures, Slow Ventures, Garage Capital and Worklife Ventures also taking over. Part. Kraft led OpenFone’s $14 million Series A in 2020, while Slow led earlier that year. Prior to that, the company had already gone through Y Combinator in 2018. The company has raised $56 million so far.

The founders of OpenFone, Mahyar Raisi and Daryana Kulya from Iran and Ukraine respectively, also married to each other, are well aware that they are not the first to think of reintroducing a simple phone system for business.

Over the years, PBXs and regular phones have been replaced by IP PBXs and IP phones; Telcos and managed service providers have invested countless times in the vague “unified communications” concept that surrounds them; Meanwhile, OTT solutions like Zoom and other web-based video conferencing solutions are so easy to use (and still give people the ability to voice and dial) that they accept multiple conference calls, and Skype has a built-in feature, and Out are lines to serve people who are freelancing or mostly working; Many people have stopped listening to voicemail, and so messaging has become an important part of the equation; Call centers try to make it difficult for them to call (and they can be very frustrating when you contact them); Some have abandoned landlines altogether, using only their cell phones to handle all their work calls; Etc.

In this context, OpenPhone’s unique advantage in the marketplace, Raisi told me, is that it’s a system suitable for SMBs that includes elements of all of the above in the least difficult format of all: an application. You can use your regular phone, but it also gives the person a dedicated work phone number and a growing number of related tools they can use to communicate with colleagues and clients.

He said that in the US, which is currently San Francisco’s main market for OpenPhone, Google’s phones could potentially pose a serious competitive threat to the company, but they don’t provide user support, making them difficult to use. appeal. Fighting a big wave of business beyond the first-time users with a single user.

The company, as you can imagine with the YC startup, found its initial support with other entrepreneurs who went through YC, and it has grown with its users, gradually becoming more and more like PBX replacement services, and they are building integration with established CRMs. and sales. . Software. The idea is to bring the spirit of services like Slack to the phone environment.

“We’re embedding phone services into how people use Ponce these days,” says Raisi, “that’s why messaging is as important as phone number collaboration. You can have a shared number for a team and easily collaborate on text messages and activities. We provide phone support.”

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