June 23, 2008
Jaxtr is introducing new features that make both its service and international calling in general much more convenient. The company, which previously has focused mostly on widgets to let friends call you from your social networking profiles, is now opening up to allow you to call anyone in the world (at least in 220 countries anyhow) with the service over VoIP using a local phone number.
Here’s how it works: if you’re a Jaxtr user, you can now generate a local phone number for anyone – so, if I want to be able to call Pete in the UK, I just tell Jaxtr Pete’s UK phone number and a local phone number is generated. I can add that phone number to my address book, and call Pete in the UK from my cell phone as if I’m making a local call.
That call is then routed over VoIP and I use my “Jax” credits to pay for it (1 Jax = ~ 1 minute of call time for most locations, priced at $10 for 1,000 Jax). That’s another big change for Jaxtr – previously, calling was limited to member-to-member (of which there are now more than 10 million), and once you used up your 100 monthly Jax, you had to wait until the next month to purchase more.
The new service competes with the likes of Jajah Direct, but is a bit more convenient since you get a unique phone number for each of your contacts. Perhaps the biggest player in the market remains calling cards, which Stacey Geagan Wagner of Jaxtr says are typically at least 25% more expensive than what Jaxtr is rolling out.
Lehman Brothers apparently believes in this new vision too, as along with the product announcements, Jaxtr is disclosing that they’ve raised a fresh $10 million in funding from the investment bank’s venture capital outfit. That follows a $10 million investment in the company from numerous VC firms back in September. According to Wagner, the funding will be used to “Invest in additional customer service, servers to handle the call volume, and doing a lot of hiring in engineering.” Menlo Park-based Jaxtr currently has 38 employees.
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