IP telephony start-ups attract cash

Jaxtr is the latest in a new crop of VoIP start-ups that is attracting venture capital.

Despite SunRocket's recent implosion , venture capitalists are hot to invest in voice over IP start-ups.

A company called Jaxtr announced Tuesday that it's raised $10 million. The company, which hopes to emulate the success of eBay's Skype, actually attracted some of the same investors as Skype. Draper Richards, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Mangrove Capital, all early stage investors in Skype, contributed to Jaxtr's first round of funding.

Jaxtr is one of a growing number of IP telephony start-ups hoping to make it big. These companies are leaning more toward Skype's business model as a complementary voice service rather than billing themselves as a replacement to traditional telephone services. This was the strategy that Vonage and SunRocket took when launched. Now SunRocket is out of business, and Vonage is gasping for air .

But the new crop of start-ups are cleaning up in terms of funding. Rebtel has raised $20 million, Truphone got $23.4 million, Jajah score about $20 million and Ashton Kutcher's Ooma raised $27 million.

Jaxtr allows people to make free international calls from their cell phones by assigning users with a local number. Callers use this number, which routes calls over the Internet. Jaxtr's CEO Konstantin Guericke co-founded LinkedIn, and the service actually incorporates social networking by creating a widget that allows people to embed the number on their blog or social-network profile, such as MySpace and Facebook.

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About the author

Marguerite Reardon has been a CNET News reporter since 2004, covering cell phone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate, as well as the ongoing consolidation of the phone companies. E-mail Maggie.

 

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