Switch Communications

Switch Raises $35 Million In Strategic Funding To Expand Its Cloud-Based Phone System

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Just four months after Switch Communications made its cloud-based communications suite generally available, the company has raised another $35 million in funding to get customers signed up. The funding was led by cross-border VC firm Amasia Associates, with includes investment from Felicis Ventures, SoftBank, and Work-Bench Ventures, as well as existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Google Ventures.

The company, which was founded as FireSpotter Labs, had previously raised $18 million in funding with plans to incubate a series of different products. Since launching, the company released products such as Nosh, NoshList, Jotly, and UberConference.

But after three years, the team decided to try (once again) to disrupt the telephony market. The company is led by serial entrepreneur Craig Walker and other execs who built Grand Central, which Google acquired and made into the backbone of its Google Voice product. Prior to that, they worked on VOIP company Dialpad, which was acquired by Yahoo and became the basis for Yahoo Voice.

Switch follows a similar track of those earlier products, enabling communications via voice and text on multiple devices, including mobile phones and desktops. Users get a universal number that they can be reached at regardless of device, and apps to enable easy communications between team members.

The company hopes to capitalize on a general trend of enterprises moving toward cloud apps and services. While that’s true for storage, collaboration and other communications services, most businesses still rely on traditional phone services for voice communications.

Switch, by contrast, offers a quick path to setting up and managing voice and text communications services within the enterprise. It integrates Google Apps, and can be easily deployed in enterprises by simply associating employee’s Google accounts with the service.

While it just launched a few months ago, the company is looking to ramp up its enterprise sales machine, and sees the most recent funding round as strategic to making that happen.

Amasia and SoftBank have the potential to help Switch move beyond the U.S. market, while Work-Bench Ventures is aimed at serving the enterprise market specifically. With the investment by Felicis, Walker is reunited with managing partner Wesley Chan, who collaborated with Walker while he was running Google Voice and was also the first lead investor in Firespotter Labs back at Google Ventures.