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July 31, 2015

Wheelings & Dealings: Twilio's 'Unicorn' Funding Round Worth $130 Million

Twilio said that a Series E funding round back in April, which catapulted it into the “Billion Dollar Unicorn” club, totaled more than originally thought. While reports pegged the investment to be around $100 million, it actually came in around $130 million.

Twilio said it will use the additional funding to build out its real-time communications suite, which includes video and IP messaging products, as well as expand internationally.

The San Francisco-based company, led by CEO Jeff Lawson, specializes in providing an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) platform for creating software-embedded, contextual communications. As such, it provides APIs for Web developers to build cloud communications applications using carriers’ native voice and SMS network capabilities.

At the heart of the proposition is relationships with over 100 telephony carriers around the world, and its platform that routes phone calls and text messages in the cloud. Earlier this year, the company improved the offering by building video call capabilities into the platform.

Twilio offers carriers a way to easily deploy so-called “fourth-wave” services that can take on competition from over-the-top (OTT) apps and services. It also works directly with enterprises, with customers that include AirBnB, Nordstrom, Coca-Cola, Uber and Lyft, Walmart and Home Depot. For both segments, Twilio’s self-prescribed mission to “migrate 150 years of telecommunications history – that 150-year-old hardware – into a future that is in software”—and it’s clearly paying off.

Image via Shutterstock

The company ended fiscal 2014 with a revenue run rate of over $100 million, and is estimated to be adding $1 million in annual revenues every week. It’s now considered a unicorn—i.e., one of the few privately held companies worth $1 billion and over.

The $130 million round was led by Fidelity and T. Rowe Price. Altimeter Capital Management, Arrowpoint Partners, Amazon.com and Salesforce Ventures all joined as new investors. Twilio to date has raised $240 million from investors including Redpoint Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Bessemer Venture Partners, Union Square Ventures, K9 Ventures, 500 Startups, SV Angel, Lowercase Capital, Mitchell Kapoor, David Cohen, and Founders Fund.

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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