05 April 2007
I got a call this morning on my cell phone, which showed a local New York number with a 646 area code. But it wasn't a local call at all. On the other end was Hjalmar Winbladh, CEO of Swedish mobile VoIP startup Rebtel. His service, which launched this summer, assigns both you and a friend overseas a local number, and then connects both of you over the Internet. As he explains it:
You don’t have to download anything. It is compliant with 100 percent of mobile phones, except those that are broken.
The call was crystal clear. Rebtel's service, and business model, is quite clever. It is so clever that the company just raised $20 million from Danny Rimer at Index Ventures (who invested in Skype) and Benchmark Capital. Winbladh (who sold a previous startup, Sendit, to Microsoft for $150 million in 1999 and headed up its mobile business) explains the connection: