Vodafone leads Joyn tech investment

A Silicon Valley startup on Wednesday received funding from Vodafone to help make the carrier’s answer to OTT (over the top) services a viable alternative to the likes of Skype and WhatsApp.

Vodafone Ventures, the US investment vehicle for Vodafone group, led the $8.3m financing round with help from Tokyo-based game creator MTI. The startup, Jibe Mobile, is developing applications and technology for the GSMA-backed Joyn initiative that will deliver inter-carrier rich communications services (RCS).

Last month, three Spanish operators became the first to offer cross-network rich comms services, with Movistar, Orange and Vodafone enabling customers to chat and enrich messaging or voice calls with images or video. Additional services such as voice over IP (VoIP) and IP-video calling are set to be introduced in the near future.

Jibe said it will be developing the world’s first open technology platform leveraging RCS 5, enhancing its open APIs to help developers incorporate real-time, ‘rich communications’ into mobile applications.

“There is no doubt that rich communications is becoming an increasingly important part of the consumer mobile experience. Jibe’s mission is to make carrier-grade communications simple and accessible for the global market,” said Jibe co-founder and CEO Amir Sarhangi. “In-app communication increases user engagement and creates new monetization opportunities for developers.”

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