3 Oct 2017

Our Investment in MessageBird: A European Deep Tech Wunderkind Enabling Truly Global Cloud Communications

At Atomico, two of our deepest convictions are that great companies can come from anywhere and that Europe is increasingly leading the world in the field of deep tech. As Europe’s ambition levels continue to rise, we are seeing a level of tenacity and resilience here that is unparalleled in other places around the world, especially in areas like deep tech.

Yet even though we are right at the heart of Europe’s technology revolution, sometimes even we encounter levels of tenacity and deep tech that take us by surprise in their ability to raise the bar on a global scale.

Amsterdam-based MessageBird, and founder and CEO Robert Vis, are the perfect example of this collision of relentless ambition and tenacity colliding with Europe’s rich heritage in building deep tech companies.

MessageBird is the world’s largest cloud communications platform by direct customer reach and the only cloud communications platform with its own telecommunications carrier infrastructure.

This proprietary technology allows global businesses to connect directly via SMS, voice, chat and video with greater security, speed, reliability and at lower costs than any other platform. This also allows MessageBird to reach 7 billion mobile phones spanning 146 countries on every continent — the largest number of end users possible today.

But first, for context, let’s look at the problem with cloud communications today:

It is common knowledge that the fastest and most direct route from Point A to Point B is a straight and unbroken line. To reach users in every country, legacy cloud communications providers route messages through complicated networks of indirect connections and third-party resellers. This creates arrival delays, security risks and sometimes messages and calls that simply never arrive which is a serious problem for global companies. This is because no one in the cloud communications space globally has successfully built the relationships and technology at scale to directly interface with telecommunications carriers around the world and consistently ensure the safest, most reliable and most cost effective delivery.

Until MessageBird.

How did they do it you ask?

Well, this is where things get really interesting…

MessageBird is registered as a carrier on the global SS7 communication network with its own Mobile Network Codes. The technology stack operating this has been completely built from scratch in-house. This enables MessageBird to connect to the very core of mobile carriers, in essence simulating peer-to-peer communication but for enterprises with MessageBird as the carrier hub providing that communication.

And you may have that the Atomico team knows a thing or two about peer-to-peer communication tools…

Here’s why this is important:

Remember the ‘Game of Whispers’ we all used to play as children? It went something like this: you have eight children sitting in a circle and a story would be passed from one child to the next by whispering in each other’s ear so the group couldn’t hear. By the time the message has gone from the first child all the way around the circle to the last the message was unrecognizable. Well, the same holds true for communications.

Because of MessageBird’s direct carrier connections, the company is essentially whispering in the last person’s ear and bypassing all the people in the middle. Other companies go through all those extra hops and as a result security is compromised, quality is diminished, speed is slowed and THEN imagine you had to pay all those people who passed along the message. That is what happens in communications. This is how MessageBird are able to offer the most secure, highest quality, fastest and lowest cost communications services.

But don’t take our word for it. MessageBird also has 15,000 enterprise customers, 300,000 developer accounts created, is on track to hit a $100m revenue run rate this year and is highly profitable.

But wait, why haven’t you heard of this company before?

Because Messagebird is a stealthy European success story — founder and CEO Robert Vis has grown the company entirely bootstrapped and profitable since inception in 2011. What’s more the company, which is headquartered in Amsterdam, has also scaled operations in San Francisco, London, Hamburg, Brussels, Sydney, Singapore and Shanghai.

With explosive growth metrics like that and the unmatched founder discipline it has taken Robert and the team to get the company there, he truly had his pick of global investors for his first institutional round. That is why we are truly humbled and delighted to have been invited to participate in this $60m Series A round and we are looking forward to being part of the next stage of Robert and the MessageBird team’s journey to show the world what truly global, secure and direct cloud communications really looks like for the first time.