Twilio takes on the world with its cloud-based telephony

At its annual developers conference, CEO Jeff Lawson said the company's service is now available in 40 countries on six continents, optimized by a global system of distributed data centers.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read
Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson at the San Francisco startup's offices. Daniel Terdiman/CNET

Twilio, a startup with a platform for developing cloud-based communications apps, said today it is taking that platform global.

In a keynote address at the company's annual TwilioCon here, CEO Jeff Lawson said that as of this morning, the platform would be available in 40 countries on six continents. To date, it had been available only in North America and Europe.

More than 150,000 developers looking to build cloud-based VOIP, text messaging, and phone functionality into their existing applications have flocked to Twilio's platform. Last year alone, its customer base expanded 400 percent, and among those using it are high-profile companies like Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, GroupMe, eBay, Airbnb, and Hulu. Its ability to attract so many developers comes from the fact that its tools, which are meant to allow quick and easy app development involving zero negotiations with legacy communications carriers or infrastructure providers, can be used by nearly anybody.

That appeal has made the company a favorite of venture capitalists. It has raised $31.5 million, including a $17 million C round last December, from A-list VCs including Bessemer Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures. Twilio said at the time that it planned on using much of that new money for future international expansion.

Now, that expansion is in place, and as of this morning, Twilio phone numbers, as well as outbound voice calling, and SMS service, are available in 40 countries on six continents. Lawson explained that customers can purchase a Twilio phone number and receive incoming phone calls from any of those countries.

They key to the expansion is a global infrastructure Twilio has built, with distributed data centers around the world optimized for most efficiently routing its VoIP traffic between customers and the people they're communicating with, regardless of where they are. Building such an infrastructure meant creating relationships with communications providers around the world, Twilio said.