Jaxtr has raised a $10 million Series A round led by August Capital with Mayfield Fund, Draper Richards, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Luxemburg-based Mangrove Capital participating. They’ve also doubled their registered user base over last month, totalling 1 million users. They plan on getting to a break even point on the investment and to total 20 million users by the end of next year.
Jaxtr, like GrandCentral, uses VOIP as a utility to add features to your existing phone. Many other other VOIP startups focus primarily on cost savings (We have a roundup of VOIP services here). It’s service lets you anonymously post your phone number on the web and get cheap long distance calling rates. It works by connecting calls to your existing phone service through a Jaxtr number on VOIP. Calls are anonymous because they are made to a new Jaxtr number instead of your existing number. This lets you push all calls to voicemail and choose who can and can’t call through directly. Calls are cheaper because long distance calls are made over VOIP lines instead of standard phone networks. Jangl is another player in the category, also enabling you to control access to who calls your phone.
Although you can access the service easily through an embeddable widget, Jaxtr has found a lot of its growth coming from direct call links placed in emails or on non-social networking websites. Jangl has been expanding through a series of business deals, most notably with Various, Inc, Justin.tv, Fubar, and Revision3, bringing their online profile presence to over 20 million.
As part of taking the company to a break even point, they will be releasing a paid service, incorporating advertising, and pursuing new services on social networks (TBA). The paid service is expected to be their lead revenue generator, with the first paid component simply allowing people to buy more Jax, the virtual currency that converts into local phone minutes. Currently users get 100 free Jax each month, which convert into 100 minutes in the US, with conversion rates depending on local telco costs (sometimes as low as 15 minutes in Europe). Longer term plans include tiered monthly minute plans, like cell phones.
Their second revenue stream will be through on-site advertising within user’s Jaxtr accounts. A look at their Alexa traffic shows traffic growing noticeably upward in fits and spurts, mostly due to users checking their Jaxtr voicemail. Although the company currently isn’t disclosing traffic numbers, Konstantine doesn’t dispute the Alexa numbers. He explains the dips as periods during which they had trouble keeping up with the growth.