Cloud Collaboration Specialist FuzeBox Closes $20 Million, Ex-Cisco Exec Joins Board


FuzeBox, a startup making noise in the rapidly crowding market for cloud-based collaboration technology, said Thursday it had closed a $20 million Series A financing round and named a well-known former Cisco executive to its board.

Based in San Francisco, FuzeBox offers mobile and web-based collaboration tools and competes with products like Cisco's WebEx and Citrix's GoToMeeting, leveraging technology that determines network bandwidth, CPU speeds, available memory and the web camera in use to optimize a user's connections for the best viewing experience. It uses scalable video codec (SVC) compression to encode video streams at different resolutions.

FuzeBox claims it powers more than 78,000 online meetings per day in 122 different countries. Earlier this summer, it launched Fuze Join for iPhone, an updated app for mobile videoconferencing and collaboration, adding to a portfolio of products that enable audio- and videoconferencing and document sharing across various devices, fixed and mobile. FuzeBox offerings are available as subscription-based services or via appliances installed on-premises.

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FuzeBox the name is only a few years old, but the company itself was founded in 1998 as CallWave, initially focused on Web-based products for voicemail and fax. CallWave was traded on the Nasdaq starting in 2004 but taken private in 2009, was renamed FuzeBox, and built mobile collaboration products with the assets it gained through CallWave's 2008 acquisition of WebMessenger. The company licenses some technology from rising videoconferencing player Vidyo.

It now has some powerful allies. Index Ventures led the Series A round, with participation from Khosla Ventures and Insight Ventures. FuzeBox also declared an additional $2.5 million in debt financing from Triple Point Capital. In a statement, the company said it will use the money to "activate larger-scale marketing efforts."

Of note is that in addition to the new funding, Index Ventures Partner Mike Volpi has joined FuzeBox's board of directors. Volpi, who's been at Index since 2009, is a well-known former Cisco executive who ran the networking titan's business development team and M&A strategy in the late 1990s and then its routing and service provider business until leaving Cisco in 2007.

"We are excited about FuzeBox because it empowers visual collaboration in today's enterprises with a SaaS-based solution for any device -- importantly, leading in mobile," Volpi said in a statement. "FuzeBox is perfectly placed to be a leader in this market."

"Our vision is to revolutionize the way the world does business, bringing people face-to-face without sacrificing the most important qualities of human interaction and collaboration," Jeff Cavins, FuzeBox's CEO, added. "With today's investment, we believe we can make that vision a reality at scale."

PUBLISHED JULY 12, 2012