Update: Reuters just confirmed the below story (which I wrote this morning, about 5 hours before Reuters), as Spinvox has now clearly put it out on the wire to stop any further speculation. It’s raised funding from a “Goldman Sachs Group Inc unit” and GLG Partners, Blue Mountain Capital Management and Toscafund Asset Management. It doubles the amount raised so far to $200 million and now effectively values the firm at “in excess of $500 million,” according to co-founder and Chief Executive Christina Domecq.
It was reported ten days ago that Spinvox, the mobile-phone technology firm that converts voicemails into text messages, had appointed Goldman Sachs as advisers to weigh up fundraising options that include a stock-market flotation.
But earlier today some extremely well placed sources – one inside Spinvox – told me that Spinvox has now raised £50 million (yes, sterling, not dollars) in financing from a private equity group, as yet unnamed. That takes it’s total pot to around £100m.
In addition to this, the jungle drums are starting to beat. On a public investment panel this morning at the Plugg.eu conference Julie Meyer of Ariadne Capital said Spinvox had “closed a $100m round”. Then that statement was later twittered by Paul Fisher of Advent Venture Partners. Ariadne has worked with Spinvox.
I just emailed Spinvox’s PR people to officially confirm or deny the story but they are simply referring me to the earlier news that they recently closed 12 carriers deals around the world for voice to text services for voicemail and spoken SMS and they expect to double that number over the next year. They also said they plan to launch new products and partnerships in the Web 2.0 and Enterprise Unified Communications arena.
The Times newspaper recently reported that the new financing could value the business at approaching £200m, but filings at Companies House show that sales were only £436,000 in 2006, up 78% from the preceding 17 months. Pretax losses stepped up from £5.8m to £10.7m because of increased research spending. However, the business is forecasting a sharp upturn in sales, from £40m in 2008 to £100m in 2009, after doubling the number of mobile-phone carrier partners it has from 12 to 24 this year.
Spinvox competes with Nuance Communications, a Nasdaq-listed firm worth $3.6 billion (£1.8 billion) whose speech-recognition technology is used in corporate IT departments and voice-activated satnav.