Twilio rival Nexmo closes $18M Series C as it prepares to move beyond SMS

Nexmo has already built a lucrative business translating the internet world’s push messages into SMS, but with help of a new $18 million Series C funding it plans to expand its reach into other traditional carrier services, starting with voice.

The $18 million round, led by Sorenson Capital and with participation from Intel(s intc) and NHN Investment, brings Nexmo’s total funding up to $22 million. It raised $3 million last February.

Like its larger competitor Twilio, Nexmo acts as a cloud-based universal interpreter between the old-school world of telecom networks and the new IP-based world of the internet services and mobile apps. For instance Viber and Line use Nexmo to verify user identity with SMS, while Airbnb uses Nexmo for its external push messaging.

Nexmo CEO Tony Jamous

Nexmo CEO Tony Jamous

While Twilio got its start in voice and later moved to SMS, Nexmo did the opposite. It established a foundation in messaging, and is gradually expanding to other telecom services. It already has a few voice-centric tools in its developer program such as the ability to turn text messages into speech, and link enterprise phone networks to external apps.

But at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next month, Nexmo plans a big voice expansion. What we’ll likely see is a voice API akin to Twilio’s, which could let any developer turn an app into a virtual phone.