Cloud telephony provider Infratel announced on Tuesday that it has secured $3 million in Series A funding from investment firms Prostor Capital and Runa Capital, money it intends to use on building out its platform for small businesses.
Runa Capital is an investment firm with close ties to the hosting industry. Started just over a year ago by a group that includes former Parallels CEO (and current chair and chief architect) Serguei Beloussov and 1&1 Internet founders Andreas Gauger and Achim Weiss, as well as several others. Runa has focused on investing in software companies that address some of the needs of the hosting market, or could benefit from using hosting providers as a channel.
That list includes NGINX, Ecwid and Jelastic, and included Infratel prior to today’s announcement, though it may be that Tuesday’s announcement references the original investment in Infratel made previously by Runa.
“The unique technology platform and business model make Infratel a significant acquisition for our portfolio,” says Beloussov, quoted in the press release announcing the investment. “Our long-term relationship, hosting service providers network, and technical expertise can help Infratel in the cloud telephony market to provide unique solutions to millions of small businesses around the world.”
Prostor Capital, says Infratel, is an investment firm with a “deep knowledge of the telephony and service provider industry.”
Infratel’s telephony products, while designed for small businesses, are designed to be distributed through service providers, and through hosting providers in particular. In the press release announcing the investment, Infratel says it has built a “cloud based solution that integrates directly into the provider’s infrastructure,” providing a better ROI for service providers. For Infratel, the advantage of distributing through service providers is a faster, broader market penetration than possible by targeting the fragmented SOHO market directly.
The company’s main offering is a “cloud receptionist” platform that includes a set of telephony tools that enable a small business with limited staff and resources to handle incoming telephone calls in a more “professional” way, and to better manage their responses. In July, the company spun out the “click-to-call” portion of its platform as a separate, entry-level option, based on the popularity of the individual function.
Part of the company’s efforts to approach the hosting market has been the integration of the Infratel tools with the Parallels platform, which Jon McCarrick discussed earlier this year at the Parallels Summit.
“There are more than 11 million small businesses in North America and Europe that have a website but don’t have a basic telephony presence, hindering their ability to interact with customers”, says Bryan Goode, CEO of Infratel, quoted in the press release. “Our goal in closing this investment round with Prostor and Runa is to bring intuitive, easy to use communications solutions to help these small businesses grow and prosper.”
Talk back: do you provide hosting customers with any kind of telephony services? Is that a demand you’re hearing from your users? Are you looking to introduce any solutions that would meet that need? Let us know in the comments.