By Ben Charny
Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Internet phone service provider Voiceglo announced $28 million in funding on Tuesday, more proof of the investment community’s continued enthusiasm for voice over Internet Protocol.
An unidentified institutional investor in Boston contributed $15 million, while several Mexican telecommunications interests made up the balance, the company said in a statement.
The funding will be used mainly to begin marketing Voiceglo’s services and products for the first time since the company’s launch in early February, said Ed Cespedes, president of TheGlobe.com, which owns Voiceglo. TheGlobe.com was one of the Internet’s earliest portals, achieving notoriety after the company’s stock soared and then crashed during the stock mania of the late 1990s.
Voiceglo offers free software that lets people make phone calls from any Internet-enabled desktop or notebook computer. That’s not the case with other peer-to-peer Internet phone services, including Free World Dialup and Skype, which limit use to one specific device. Unlike its peer-to-peer competitors, Voiceglo also lets people reach traditional phones for 3.9 cents per minute for a monthly fee of $2 to $4.
Voiceglo, Skype, Vonage and other companies deal in voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a technology for making phones calls using the Internet Protocol, the world’s most popular method for sending data from one computer to another. As evidenced by Voiceglo’s $4 monthly plans, VoIP dialing can be extremely inexpensive when compared with the fees charged by traditional phone companies.
“The investment market is just white hot right now for this stuff,” Cespedes said.
For instance, in early February, broadband phone provider Vonage’s international expansion plans got a $40 million boost, when it picked up the multimillion-dollar funding in a round co-led by two new investors: global venture firm 3i Group in London and Meritech Capital Partners in Palo Alto, Calif., which focuses on wireline and wireless communications equipment and services. The injection brings Vonage’s total funding to $103 million.
In November, Net2Phone said it raised $63 million through a stock offering.