One thing’s for sure – the cream rises to the top in a downturn. And San Francisco/Israel based iSkoot, which has built technology that lets mobile users access Skype via normal mobile handsets, look like it’s the cream. The company has raised a third round of financing – $19 million from new investor Vision Opportunity Master Fund. Existing investors Charles River Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Jesselson Capital Corporation and ZG Ventures also participated in the round. Total capital raised by iSkoot is now over $32 million.
iSkoot is best known to U.S. consumers as the company that brought Skype to the Android phone. But their core business to date has been to build technology that lets people use Skype on their mobile handsets in a way that doesn’t threaten carriers and doesn’t overwhelm the handset’s hardware.
iSkoot moves the heavy processing to servers that they or the carrier controls. When a user wants to make a Skype call or chat, they use a thin client on the phone that appears to work the same way as it would on a normal computer. But iSkoot then makes a normal voice call to their servers, and transmits the Skype data over the Internet from there. The result is a great user experience, and the carriers rack up those valuable minutes.
They currently work with the carrier Hutch in eight countries. 300,000 mobile handsets have been purchased that include the iSkoot software and service in Europe and Asia.
The company is now expanding into other businesses that can benefit from their technology, pairing, effectively, a web service with a synchronous communication client. Look for new product rollouts based on their existing technology, plus what they picked up when they acquired Social.im earlier this year.