Skype Rival Vopium Raises $16.5M

by Gaurav Kheterpal on June 28, 2010

Skype has been on a roll for the last year or so – signing deals with prominent carriers and introducing apps for leading mobile platforms including Android, iPhone and Symbian. Vopium, a Danish VoIP technology and one of Skype’s lesser known competitors is planning to challenge Skype’s supremacy after it recently received a fresh capital injection of $16.5 million from an indian investor called Raghuvinder Kataria.

While Vopium has a long way to go before it catches up with Skype, the investment will certainly boost company’s dream of having 10 million subscribers in the next couple of years.

Raghuvinder Kataria is a veteran Indian telecommunications investor and now owns the majority of shares in Vopium. Kataria’s other business ventures include an early investment in Bharti Airtel, one of India’s leading wireless carriers and overall world’s third largest mobile operator with a string of recent high profile acquisitions including Zain.

In a statement, Kataria said

“Vopium has developed its own new market. The ground-breaking technology will reach millions of users all over the world in the next few years. Our expectations are reflected by the significant amount of money that we have invested in the company and we expect 10 million Vopium users in a few years. We believe that the market demands an alternative mobile solution to Skype and the fast market penetration of smartphones opens up new and more intelligent ways of communication. Vopium’s solution is unique because it offers the best conversation quality and is easy to use.”

Kataria is brave to project Vopium as “an alternative mobile solution to Skype”. Vopium was established in Copenhagen back in 2006 by a group of people, spearheaded by Pakistani entrepreneur Tanveer Sharif in order to offer a cheap calling solution for immigrants to keep in touch with their friends and families in other countries. Since its inception, the company has switched focus to using VoIP as the technology for making international calls. The company offers messaging applications for leading mobile platforms including Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and iPhone.

Despite being competitors, Vopium offers free calls to Skype and Google Talk. In addition, it offers text chat support for all leading messaging services including Skype, Yahoo! Google Talk, AIM, ICQ and MSN. The Vopium app is free to download and has already been downloaded more than 1 million times. The app is being used by nearly 250,000 people in 49 countries all across the world and its userbase is increasing at a decent pace of 30 percent per month.

With a solid financial backing, Vopium now looks poised to take the leap from being a “little VoIP” company to a mainstream VoIP solution provider. However, even a die-hard optimist would be brave to predict that Vopium will dethrone Skype in the next couple of years. What do you think?

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. >. Follow > by: RSS>, Twitter >, >, or Friendfeed >

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