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ThinkingPhones Gets Electric via Fuze

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ThinkingPhones Gets Electric via Fuze
    

By: -
12 Feb 2016
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This week UCaaS provider ThinkingPhones announced that it is rebranding as Fuze, the name of the cloud-based web / video collaboration company it acquired this past November.  In 2015,
ThinkingPhones had grown revenue by more than 100%, adding more than 175 new customers and expanding existing customer relationships. And Fuze, which itself had acquired team collaboration platform Live Minutes last June, had raised $20 million but was figuring out what it wanted to be when it grew up.  Well, marriage appears to be suiting the new company as it's growing up on us: not only does the rebranding create a nice new coat of paint on the house, but it went to the bank and got financing too.  Are kids next in line?

Fuze closed $112 million in financing led by Summit Partners, which was joined by existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) and Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV). Summit Partners Managing Director Bruce Evans will join the Fuze Board of Directors as part of the investment.  The new capital will be used to expand global operations and to support continued investment in innovation.

It was interesting to note the press and analyst response to the rebranding and funding this week – most writers focused on the rebranding effort.  New logo.  Return to a name that has an electric feel to it (pun intended and I pray no one else wrote that) and that also implies connectivity.  The name ThinkingPhones was fine when the point was pure-play telephony and wanting to take it to VoIP.  Fuze is a better name, however, because it is nothing less than short and easy and suggestive.  Back when I worked on the vendor side, I argued with one of my colleagues who wanted to give a new product line a boring “XXX Series” nomenclature.  I said that there’s nothing that stands out about boring names – they can be utilitarian for a buyer or product manager, but that’s about it.  He remains in the industry and is one of our most successful entrepreneurs, but did later admit that I was right on that score (as he laughed his way through several startups and to the bank with cool names!)  So end of story: the rebranding makes sense.

What’s been missed, however, is a conversation about that large chunk of change. The $112 million means ThinkingPhones has now raised $200 million (and we’re not counting the money raised by Fuze when it wasn’t yet purchased).  You can do a lot with $112 million on a lot of fronts – R&D, sales and marketing, partnering with others for market development.   I think this ratchets up Fuze’s game and expect to see them on a lot more fronts, nipping at the heels of the bigger UCaaS players.