Truphone is a United Kingdom based mobile network that lets users make cheap phone calls to other mobile devices. The company has raised £75 million ($118 million) from a group of investors led by Roman Abramovich (owner of the Chelsea Football Club). Abramovich’s investment company Minden accounted for around £70 million of the investment, which gives them a 23.3% stake in the company based on a £300 million ($473 million) valuation according to TechCrunch.
Truphone launched in 2006 and raised $57.1 million before this round from Straub Ventures, Burda Digital Ventures, Eden Ventures, Independent News & Media, and Wellington Partners.
Truphone will be using the funding to expand into new markets and they will be increasing their staff. They plan to add 500 more employees in the next 18 months.
?Our business is based on a global model, unique in mobile telecoms,? stated Truphone CEO Steve Robertson. ?Staying connected is crucial to the way we live our lives ? and the demand for connectivity is growing. This funding round will enable us to continue to bring the promise of a mobile phone service without international borders into new markets across the world.?
Truphone sells a prepaid SIM card for GSM devices at £19.99 ($31) and they let users make cheap calls on their mobile devices to 220 countries. It is usable as a free local service in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
The company plans to add more local markets in the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Spain, and Hong Kong. When those deals are completed, it will be “more than double the size of Truphone’s potential market over the next twelve months.”
Truphone also can route calls over the Internet instead of GSM networks through iOS and Android apps. The company is also working on a BlackBerry app. Truphone also works with businesses to record their voice calls, which is especially important for finance companies.