[qi:004] Updated: A few years ago we saw a gaggle of VoIP start-ups pop-up, each claiming to have their unique twist on cheap phone calls. Some offered anonymous calling services as their signature feature. Others labeled themselves as social voice apps. Some of them tried both and other features. Most jumped on the social networking bandwagon. And many of them – Jangl, TalkPlus and EQO for example — went bust, because they learned the harsh lesson — selling cheap minutes or offering free calls isn’t really a business. One such company – Menlo Park, Calif.-based Jaxtr – apparently hasn’t learnt that lesson. Read More about Jaxtr Launches Free Calling Service. Why?
Regardless of however you spin it, if you are firing 20 percent of your work force and have no real business model to speak of, you are in trouble. That certainly is true of Fring, an Israeli Mobile VoIP startup, which has cut 10 of its 50 employees. CEO Avi Shechter told TechCrunch that his company is doing well. In addition to $13 million it raised in the past, Avi says the company has raised an undisclosed amount of money in its Series C financing.
By doing well, I guess he means Fring’s deal with Mobilkom Austria and an increase in the number of monthly downloads from 100,000 a year ago to 400,000. Mobile advertising is one way it hopes to make money, but it seems like a long shot. Like many of its peers, Fring is going to have a tough time in the future. Jangl and TalkPlus have already shut down, while EQO recently fired 65 percent of its workforce. Jaxtr, another VoIP startup, recently had a management shakeup and has its own set of issues. Other Fring competitors would include iSkoot and Nimbuzz.
Related Post: 7 Ways To VoIP From Your Mobile Phone
Jangl, a Pleasanton, Calif-based startup that launched with much fanfare and lot of promise, ran out of time, and is headed towards an ignominious end. Venturebeat had first reported that Jangl was looking to sell itself earlier this week.
Jangl is not the only VoIP company to nosedive. We have heard from reliable sources that TalkPlus, San Mateo, Calif., company, is going nowhere fast. Michael Toepel, who was the CEO, recently left after the company failed to get new investment to keep it going.
Jeff Black, the founder, is overseeing the operations but there is little hope for this company, which wants to sell its intellectual property. The company had raised about $5.5 million from Menlo Ventures back in 2006. I left Jeff a voice mail but so far no word from him. John Todd, CTO of the company, is still with TalkPlus.