Given all the obsession with Vonage and Skype and their mega billion dollar valuations, it is nice to see one of the little guys, finally get some love. I mean what can be a better expression of love than cold hard cash (or diamonds….as the De Beers’ commercial tells us.) Fonality, a company that sells IP-PBX systems that run on plain vanilla PCs and Linux has just raised about $5 million in series B funding from Azure Capital Partners with participation from individual investors.
The sales of IP-PBX offerings are on an upswing and traditional PBX boxes are going down. I have written in the past that commoditization is driving the PBX profit margins into ground for incumbents. Fonality is trying to leverage these trends to its own advantage.
Fonality’s main product is PBXtra, a highly polished and highly scalable IP-PBX-system based on open source, Asterisk platform. The $995 box has all the features you expect from more expensive offerings from the likes of Cisco and Avaya. Call forwarding, Microsoft Outlook Integration, and other features that most SMBs count on, are part of the offering. I wish they would develop something for us Mac users.
I have played around with their service/offerings, and while I don’t profess to be an expert, it seemed easy enough for me to get going. More recently, I have tried a customized version of their Eyebeam soft phone and well, it has been a pretty compelling experience, though I find that corporate firewalls can play havoc at times. Fonality is the brainchild of Chris Lyman and is targeting the small and medium sized businesses. Fonality, is one of the many Voice 2.0 companies that are getting funding these days. Matt Marshall over at Silicon Beat had done a round up of voice start-ups that have received funding.