GOOGLE AND SKYPE JOIN $21.7 MILLION ROUND INTO FON... CREATING A WIFI PLANET
This news on FON's investment round is interesting on a few points. First, it's the first time I've seen Google invest in a company versus acquiring. Maybe there is a change in the approach of Google's corporate development team? Second, Skype's investment makes sense and I'm assuming this move shows some level of autonomy from eBay. Lastly, they have rounded up a strong board and group of advisors: Niklas Zennstrom, Janus Friis, Danny Rimer, Mike Volpi, Joichi Ito, David Weinberger, Esther Dyson, Dan Gillmor, and a bunch of others I don't know.
FON, a company focused on creating a global network of shared WiFi connections, today announced that it has secured euro 18 million (USD$21.7M) in Series A funding from Index Ventures, Google, Sequoia Capital and Skype. Index Ventures led the round. The company also announced that Danny Rimer (Index Ventures), Mike Volpi (Cisco) Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis (Skype) joined the board. Existing board members include Martin Varsavsky, FON CEO, and Antonio Fuentes, FON CFO. This announcement illustrates the willingness of leading technology companies and venture capital firms to jointly invest in the development of a global WiFi infrastructure. (full press release)
"Google, Skype in Startup to Link Hotspots" (AP wire)
"Google, Skype Fund FON" (Om's comments)
"Skype invests in FON to increase Wi-Fi availability" (From Skype's blog where Niklas and Janus explain their investment)
UPDATE: More from MobileCrunch who wonders why here.