Jangl, a Pleasanton, Calif-based startup that launched with much fanfare and lot of promise, ran out of time, and is headed towards an ignominious end. Venturebeat had first reported that Jangl was looking to sell itself earlier this week.
Jangl is not the only VoIP company to nosedive. We have heard from reliable sources that TalkPlus, San Mateo, Calif., company, is going nowhere fast. Michael Toepel, who was the CEO, recently left after the company failed to get new investment to keep it going.
Jeff Black, the founder, is overseeing the operations but there is little hope for this company, which wants to sell its intellectual property. The company had raised about $5.5 million from Menlo Ventures back in 2006. I left Jeff a voice mail but so far no word from him. John Todd, CTO of the company, is still with TalkPlus.
Back to Jangl! Cerda along with Jangl co-founder Ben Dean and three other Jangl employees is joining Jajah, one company that seems to be defying the odds, mostly because it changed its overall strategy. “Jangl will sell its assets and there are people who are interested in this,” Cerda said. “The company was finding its groove in the marketplace, but our investors thought it wasn’t enough for us to keep going, and decided not to fund us.” Jangl had raised about $9 million in VC funding from Storm Ventures, Labrador Ventures and Cardinal Ventures.
Jangl had started out by creating a bidirectional number that kept the privacy of the caller and call recipient intact. It later changed its tactics and tried to use social networking widgets to grow its customer base, in the hope that it could make up the cost of free calling on advertising. The only place where it found success was amongst the online dating sites, where it allowed people to make anonymous voice calls to each other.
Cerda explains the rise and fall of Jangl on his blog.
And in our opinion it needed another 18-24 months worth of runway to realize its fullest potential; but at the end of the day every venture capitalist has their own coefficient of venture. To that end, we took company forward into an M&A process. Unfortunately with much bigger things happening in the marketplace it turned out to be the worst time in a few years to be selling.
That last line should send a shudder down the spine of Web 2.0/Voice 2.0 entrepreneurs who are looking to sell and get out of Dodge.