Hybrid GSM and VoIP calling app grabs a very impressive seed round to change group calling as you know it
Group-calling is one of those facts of life that everyone just has to deal with, frustrating as it may be. The quality is never what you want it to be and someone always ends up getting cut off.
One Israeli company by the name of Meucci thinks that they have found the solution. Now, they have raked in a whopping $6 million seed round to make their mark on the world of voice communication. While group chats like Whatsapp and Facebook have come to dominate the field, the Meucci team sees an opportunity to step in and reinvigorate the model of group calling.
“Today, group calling is plagued by drop calls, people speaking over each other, and a bunch of other problems,” said Kizner in his statement to the press. “It’s not uncommon for friends, families, and business partners to be spread out all over the world and finding the right time and proper calling platform is already hard enough. We want to combat and solve this problem so distance has no meaning and you don’t have to think, just call.”
So far, the app has already picked up some significant backers, with names like Moshe Hogeg’s Singulariteam, Chinese investor Dragon Ventures and Xu Li. Singulariteam is also backed by big Chinese players like Tencent and Renren, plus Alon Carmel who has co-founded successful dating services like JDate.
The general perception is that phone call quality is degraded as more people are added to the conversation, taking up more bandwidth. The company solves this problem by allocating and regulating a portion of bandwidth to users.
Kizner tells Geektime that their method is similar to how a one to one call are organized, but they are then able to make a connection between these different points.
The service works primarily through GSM networks, with local numbers set up in over 70 countries, where users with the app can make calls all over the world for the price of a local call, which by this point runs at a flat rate. In the event that a user is unable to connect with a GSM signal, they can seamlessly hook up through an Internet connection, using Meucci as a VoIP service.
Interestingly, the service is open to those who have not yet downloaded the app. They receive a link for joining calls, along with an invite.
As a product that offers users the ability to make international calls to other telephones, Meucci says that they will remain free as they build up their user base. While they may later add more features, they tell Geektime that the core of the service will remain free.
Following this funding, the company says that they will continue building up features for their app, which is available for iOS and Android. In addition to major markets like the US and Europe, they have cited the developing world as an ideal target market due to the need for improved communication tools there.
Named for the Italian-American who designed the first telephone before Alexander Graham Bell, Meucci brings a number of interesting new ideas to the table. As a user who makes plenty of overseas calls, I never look forward to the poor quality of the calling services with the pin numbers to put in and having to ask people to repeat themselves due to low quality.
I also hate having to download a new app each time I need to chat with a new person or group, even if serviced like Blue Jeans, Webex and others have their advantages. The ubiquitous Skype, for all their really great improvements — and they are -— has yet to fix issues with call quality. Utilizing the GSM network for most of the calling also cuts down on valuable data usage.
It is a little unclear at this point how their business model will shake out if this is to be a free service. The company assures Geektime that they do not collect data on users or incorporate spyware into the app.
Worth noting here is the interest of Chinese investors in yet another Israeli tech startup, highlighting what is shaping up to be a stellar year for Israeli-Chinese cooperation / investment in the field of tech.
If Meucci is able to hold up their claims for crystal clear international calling, and the attention of Hogeg and other experienced investors signals that they can with a $6 million vote of confidence, then this will be definitely be an app worth trying out.
Founded in 2011 by CEO Rubi Kizner, COO Yubal Cnaan, CTO Arnon Ayal, and investor Alon Carmel, the Meucci team started work on their product in 2014.
Featured Image Credit: Meucci / PR