Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Wheelings & Dealings: Thinking Phone Networks Lands Cash Infusion to Make Communications Simpler

December 05, 2014

The modern communications landscape is one that few would likely consider to be simple, considering the sheer number of platforms and devices involved in the mix. A host of mobile devices, video systems, and cloud-based tools all combine to create a landscape that's as known for its sheer diversity as anything else. But one company, Cambridge, Massachusetts firm Thinking Phone Networks, has been growing along with these various industry trends, and thanks to a successful Series D funding run, has managed to pull in some serious new cash to continue its evolution.

What drew investors to the ThinkingPhones concept was its software, a system that allows users to not only engage in voice and video chat, but also send text messages and even engage in collaborative efforts, all from one central location. That's a good step on its own, but ThinkingPhones builds on that, connecting the various services it offers with an array of business apps, allowing functions like customer relationship management (CRM), resource planning, and sales operations to be built directly into the app.

Though it may sound like an outlandish concept, by all reports, the idea is well-received. Not only does the company have a large slate of customers, measuring into the hundreds and including names like the Cambridge Innovation Center, CareerBuilder, Hanger, and recently a distribution agreement with Televersal, but the company's Series D funding run brought in fully $56.7 million in new funding, bringing the total funding up to $89 million invested just since 2006. The latest funding round, at last report, was led by Technology Crossover Ventures, and Bessemer Venture Partners—who was previously involved in ThinkingPhones funding—came back for more with this round.

Thinking Phone Networks is offering a fairly simple idea; take the various functions of other communications-as-a-service (CaaS) tools and bring said functions together under one roof. That's a handy alternative, and means less switching back and forth between other apps, which in turn can mean time saved and from there money saved as well. But it's not going to be the kind of solution that will inherently break market share from entrenched competitors; after all, just because something found a way to put a saw blade in a knife doesn't mean that someone's going to throw out a perfectly good hand saw, so to speak; the solution needs to not only be more convenient but also superior to really draw attention. But still, it's likely to earn some respect in the field—some will trend toward it for improved convenience alone, and there are usually firms looking to save money on communications expenses at any given time, which is just the kind of prospect ThinkingPhones can offer—and that makes ThinkingPhones an impressive alternative in the market.

Only time will tell just what kind of impact this has on the field—or if it can generate at least $89 million worth of impact—but the fact that it already has several customers in play and is working to improve from there suggests that it has the right idea, and is more than ready to go.

Edited by Maurice Nagle