My, what big eyes you have Jawbone! It hasn’t even been four months since the consumer electronics company closed its $49 million in funding from Andreessen Horowitz and already it’s making funding news again.
Jawbone has raised another round of growth funding, this time it’s $70 million from a group of unnamed investors advised by JP Morgan Asset Management. This brings the total raised so far to $170 million.
Is there RedBull in the water over at Jawbone? The company seemed to motor along for years with its $50 million in capital, making sci-fi-looking mobile headsets. Suddenly CEO Hosain Rahman has thrown the company into hyper-drive.
In addition to raising nearly $120 million in capital in a matter of months, the company is doing business in 28 countries, and has moved into new types of mobile accessories with the Jambox Smart Speaker. And we hear the company will announce a new major product category tomorrow.
Two things explain the surge of activity, according to Rahman. One is that it just took time for Jawbone to build out its global supply chain and get to scale. There’s a reason VCs don’t back a lot of consumer electronics companies. Even with the advantages of globalization, it’s not easy. But now that it’s in place, Jawbone can more quickly expand out to other products.
But there’s another big reason for the sudden need-for-speed: Jawbone’s long-term vision– that phones would be the center of our worlds with lines hopelessly blurred between consumer and professional devices–suddenly went from futuristic idea to current reality thanks to the iPhone, Android and the surge of investment around those platforms. “The world came to us faster than we could have expected,” Rahman says. “The surprise isn’t that it happened; it’s how quickly it happened. As recently as 2007 Blackberry was an $80 billion company. It’s amazing how fast the rise and fall of companies in this space has been.”
Meanwhile as the big giants slug it out, Jawbone is one of the only pre-IPO consumer electronics companies building innovative hardware, software and UI design for the broader smart phone market.
So, not only has the world come to Jawbone faster than it could have expected– investors like JP Morgan have looking for a way to invest in this trend beyond just buying shares of Apple. “We just said yes,” Rahman says.