UC Vendors Teambox, Thinking Phones Get Funding

The new funding for Teambox ($5 million) and Thinking Phones ($10 million) continues a spending spree on communications technology vendors.

Capital venture firms continue to invest in smaller collaboration and communications technology vendors. Teambox, a 5-year-old company that offers a cloud-based platform for everything from shared tasks to high-definition video conferencing, has raised another $5 million in financing.

The Teambox announcement, made Oct. 22, comes a week after officials at Thinking Phones Networks, a unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) vendor, said the company has raised $10 million. In September, several communications and collaboration companies—Blue Jeans Network, FuzeBox and Zoom Video Communications—each announced new rounds of funding that ranged from $6.5 million to $50 million.

The funding comes at a time when enterprises increasingly are growing their UC capabilities—in part by adding video conferencing—and are looking to the cloud to house at least a part of their UC architecture. According to an Infonetics Research report Oct. 7, 87 percent of enterprises surveyed said they will add video conferencing to their UC environments by August 2014, and 22 percent said they already have put some of their UC architecture into a private cloud. Nineteen percent have done so in public clouds. The UC market will grow 21.3 percent this year, according to the research firm.

"The biggest change we're seeing in unified communications deployments is the adoption of video," Diane Myers, principal analyst for voice-over-IP (VoIP), UC and IP multimedia subsystems (IMS) at Infonetics, said in a statement. "Businesses have been implementing more mobility into their UC architectures over the past year and now are looking toward videoconferencing to help drive further productivity."

Teambox officials have said the company—which counts AT&T, BBC, Harvard and US Airways as customers—has seen a 300 percent jump in the number of paying customers in the last two years, and user activity is up more than 650 percent since January 2012. The company has more than 3,500 companies and 600,000 users leveraging Teambox for file sharing, task management and collaboration. Monthly recurring revenue has increased 1,273 percent over the last two years.

The $5 million in funding—led by Avalon Ventures—brings to $7 million the amount raised, company officials said. Teambox CEO Dan Schoenbaum said in a statement that the new money will enable Teambox to "take our product to a much larger market opportunity that we're already seeing."

For its part, Thinking Phones Networks raised $10 million, bringing its total to $16.5 million. Bessemer Venture Partners and Advanced Technology Ventures led the latest round of financing, which company officials said will help with global expansion and growing the sales and support operations.

Thinking Phones' cloud software offering gives customers a single platform for voice, video, conferencing and other communications tools. The platform is designed for the increasingly mobile workforce and offers business intelligence and analytics capabilities.

"Cloud communications adoption has become mainstream, with thousands of midsized and larger enterprises already benefitting from the significant business process improvements and cost savings that cloud deployment brings," Thinking Phones President and CEO Steven Kokinos said in a statement. "We believe we are in a very good position to capitalize on the move to cloud UC."