• United States

VC survey: Which ISPs are getting the most money?

May 10, 20042 mins
BroadbandInternet Service ProvidersNetworking

* Vonage and Speakeasy received largest injection of VC funding in Q1

Two broadband ISPs – Vonage and Speakeasy – received some of the network industry’s largest venture capital investments during the first quarter of 2004, according to the MoneyTree Survey, a leading source of information about venture capital activity in the U.S.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, Thomson Venture Economics and the National Venture Capital Association compile the quarterly MoneyTree Survey. Network World receives a special subset of the survey data that includes investments in ISPs as well as network hardware and software suppliers.

The biggest ISP deal of the quarter involved Vonage, an Edison, N.J., provider of VoIP services to residential and small office/home office businesses. Vonage received $39.9 million in February from a group of investors led by 3i and Meritech Capital Partners.  This cash infusion represents Vonage’s fourth round of venture capital financing, for a total investment of $103 million.

Vonage began offering VoIP services in March 2002, and now has 145,000 customers in 40 states. About 20% of those customers are small businesses and telecommuters.

With its recent financing, Vonage plans to expand its services into Canada, the U.K. and Switzerland. In recent weeks, Vonage has announced service in several Canadian cities including Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg.

The second largest ISP deal was a $24 million investment in Speakeasy, a Seattle, Wash., ISP that focuses on residential power users such as online gamers. The March investment represents Speakeasy’s fourth round of venture financing, and was led by 3i and BV Capital.

Speakeasy provides broadband service in most metropolitan areas within the 48 contiguous states. Speakeasy will use the latest round of financing to expand its network infrastructure and to launch a VoIP offering for business and residential customers. Founded as one of the first Internet cafes in 1994, Speakeasy has achieved profitability and has more than $50 million in revenues, company officials say.