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Summary:

Ribbit, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that is pushing a VoIP platform that marries web with voice is subject of acquisition rumors this evening. VentureBeat reported that the company was close to being acquired by British Telecom (BT), but later changed their story. When contacted by […]

Ribbit, a Mountain View, Calif.-based company that is pushing a VoIP platform that marries web with voice is subject of acquisition rumors this evening. VentureBeat reported that the company was close to being acquired by British Telecom (BT), but later changed their story. When contacted by me, Don Thorson, Ribbit’s Vice President of Marketing dismissed the rumors but declined to comment any further.

It wouldn’t surprise me if BT (or some European telecom) acquired Ribbit (or any other platform) to expand across the borders and find a way to stay relevant. We had pointed out that a consortium of incumbent carriers were developing their competitor to Skype. Ribbit-type platform could be used to develop apps for the incumbent supra-net.

Ribbit has so far raised $13 million from Allegis Capital, KPG Ventures and Alsop Louie Ventures. The company has attracted about 4000 developers to its platform, though it is hard to tell if it is making any revenues from its platform. Over past few weeks, I had heard about Ribbit being in “play” and talking to likely buyers, but there is nothing concrete to add.

  1. Om,
    What happened to BT’s own 21CN platform that enabled developers to build voice and messaging application. Not sure if ribbit is gone fill the gaps in 21CN platform or is there something else that BT is interested in?

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  2. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. My dad worked for MCI for over 25 years. As a result, he went through the near BT acquisition and finally the dreadful WorldCom deal. We all should know how that went down.

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  3. [...] This is a strange story. Rumors circulated today that Silicon Valley based startup Ribbit was acquired by British Telecom, and VentureBeat ran with the story. The company later denied the rumors, but wouldn’t comment on whether or not merger discussions were occurring or not. [...]

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  4. The BT platform’s still there (web21c.bt.com). Ribbit seems to be mainly an Adobe Flex component that allows voice functions to be added to a browser, and a back-end switch for the call processing. It’s an adjacent space to what BT have, and could be complementary.

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  5. @Omfut

    I wish I could tell you about BT 21 CN. Lots of talk early on, but the project is clearly lagging and things are slow to put it mildly. I think BT had big ideas but execution turned out to be a bitch.

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  6. @Martyn

    I am not even sure why BT would be interested in this – sure it has developers but Ribbit doesn’t have any real traction when it comes to apps. They have a Salesforce integration app but I am not sure how many people are actually using it, and there is no way to verify it. No independent sources on that information.

    Hopefully, if the deal happens we will have a clear idea on why BT wants this and if they can actually put it to work.

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  7. [...] This is a strange story. Rumors circulated today that Silicon Valley based startup Ribbit was acquired by British Telecom, and VentureBeat ran with the story. The company later denied the rumors, but wouldn’t comment on whether or not merger discussions were occurring or not. [...]

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  8. Om – you can get a very rough sense of usage on Salesforce/AppExchange by sorting by Installs in a category: http://www.salesforce.com/appexchange/category_list.jsp?NavCode__c=a0130000006P6IoAAK-c

    You can see Ribbit is #3 of 18 in mobile – #2 if you exclude Salesforce’s won Salesforce Mobile, and it launched much later and the installs are cumulative over time.

    So you can guess Ribbit has done reasonably well on AppExchange. It’s a nice app.

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  9. Yes, I think “Google buys JaJah” is the more realistic scenario.

    btw: Didn’t jajah’s comms guy go to Ribbit? Shame he jumped ship for $55m when he could have stayed with a billion dollar company

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