Small businesses worldwide have a new reason to think about international expansion; Riyada Enterprise Development (RED) and Intel Capital have jointly announced investment ininternational Voice over IP (VOIP) service Nymgo, which has offices in Luxembourg, UK and Lebanon.
The investment, made for an undisclosed amount, is the first to be announced by RED’s new Lebanon Growth Capital Fund. It also marks Intel’s second round of investment in Nymgo since it began funding the platform last fall. Elie Habib, the manager of LGCF, said, “We are very excited about this first investment of the fund in Nymgo, a growth company with international customers and universal appeal.”
Currently a client application for Windows, Nymgo allows customers to make international calls over the internet for prices that undercut Skype by around 70 percent (the Nymgo website reveals most per minute prices to be below one U.S. cent). Yet, founder Omar Onsi points out, it does so without sacrificing quality, as many other VOIP services do. “Skype offers high quality but expensive services through SkypeOut, and others over low quality at affordable prices, but we fit the space in between,” he says.
Nymgo is able to fill that gap by offering a no-frills product. There is no video-to-video functionality; it’s simply designed for voice calls. For small businesses, this makes it ideal for conference calls or distributed teams. “If small businesses have sales teams traveling all over the world, we offer the ability to monitor the call volume, balances, and general locations of their staff,” says Onsi.
After launching in 2008, Nymgo has grown to boast hundreds of thousands of customers, millions of downloads and currently reaches 55 countries, says Onsi. While it has offices in Lebanon, it remains compliant with telecommunications laws throughout the MENA region.
Although Skype currently dominates the VOIP market worldwide, Nymgo will use this round of funding to enhance its competitive edge in voice-only calling. Onsi says the company plans to boost network capacity, launch a mobile app for all major smartphones and tablets in the first quarter of 2012, and expand its platform to Mac and Linux in the second quarter, all of which will also enhance its usefulness for startups.
Expansion into mobile will also be key for Nymgo to go head-to-head with competitors. While Onsi isn’t worried about the thousands of “mom-and-pop shop” VOIP services that crop up, he is focusing on building mobile applications with better quality, services, and user experience than those of mobile-ready competitors such as NimBuzz, Fring, Vopium, and Viber.
Stay tuned for our review of its platform. You can learn more about Nymgo at www.nymgo.com, checking out its Facebook page, where Nymgo is giving away free credit, or reading the socialexpat.nymgo.com blog, which is designed to support expats worldwide.