Fon, the global WiFi sharing network, today announced the completion of
its financing totaling $14 million (10.3 million Euros).
Qualcomm Incorporated, through its venture capital arm, Qualcomm
Ventures, led the fundraising round, underscoring its relationship with
Fon as a strategic investor. Fon is in the process of developing a
revolutionary new Fon router that combines social WiFi with social
music, based on a chipset from Qualcomm Atheros Inc., a subsidiary of
Qualcomm Inc. This new router is expected to be available from Fon in
the first half of 2014. At the same time, Qualcomm Atheros is
integrating Fon as a feature, available via SDK for its chipsets, making
it easier for WiFi router manufacturers who use Qualcomm Atheros'
chipsets to integrate Fon.
Other investors participating in the round include Fon's existing
investors: Index Ventures, Google, Coral, Atomico and Deutsche Telekom
"The amount of this round and the caliber of investors will propel us
into our next stage of growth," said Martin Varsavsky, CEO, Fon. "We are
excited about our new relationship with Qualcomm, which is an amazing
company and a leader in mobile data communication. By integrating Fon
into Qualcomm Atheros' chipsets, more devices and systems will be
automatically equipped to be part of Fon's global WiFi network."
"Fon's unique approach to crowd-sourcing WiFi is going to play an
increasingly instrumental role inthe future of mobile data," said Miles
Kirby, senior director for Qualcomm Ventures. "Qualcomm is leading the
1000x mobile data challenge, and Fon fits perfectly into our vision to
solving the increasing demand for data."
Fon has grown 50% this year and now stands at over 12 million WiFi
hotspots. With its crowd-sourced approach of converting existing WiFi
hotspots into community hotspots, Fon has blanketed entire countries
with near ubiquitous WiFi coverage. In countries such as UK, France and
Belgium, more than 10% of households have a Fon hotspot. Other regions
such as Japan and Brazil are catching up as well. Fon has calculated
that it has significant coverage in more than 1,000 major cities, making
Fon the world's largest WiFi operator in municipalities.
Fon often collaborates with leading telcos to reach high levels of
penetration in a country. With this approach, Fon has seen tremendous
success in Europe and Asia, and is now looking to build its footprint by
intensifying its focus in the United States.
Fon will use the funds to build out its presence in the U.S. as well as
expand its reach into new geographies worldwide. It will also fund new
product development, including a new Fon router and its newly developed
"WiFi for Business", a WiFi solution for Small and Medium Businesses
that is expanding the concept of Social WiFi into businesses.
"We expect to reach 35 million WiFi hotspots by 2016," said Varsavsky.
"Our recent expansion in the U.S. and projects such as our work with the
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership to provide downtown Brooklyn residents,
businesses and public with free WiFi are all a part of the strategy to
reach that goal."
Fon was founded in February 2006 by a serial entrepreneur Martin
Varsavsky with the goal of blanketing the world with WiFi. Today the
company is a global WiFi leader with 12 million hotspots around the
world. Fon has offices in Madrid, London, Tokyo and New York. Its
partners include Belgacom (Belgium), BT (UK), Deutsche Telekom
(Germany), Hrvatski Telekom (Croatia), KPN (Netherlands), MTC (Russia),
MWEB (South Africa), Netia (Poland), Oi (Brazil), SFR (France), Softbank
(Japan) and ZON (Portugal). For more information, please visit www.fon.com.
Qualcomm is a trademark of Qualcomm Incorporated, registered in the US
and other countries. All Qualcomm Incorporated trademarks are used with
permission. Other products or brand names may be trademarks or
registered trademarks of their respective owners.
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