BT Buys Ribbit for $105 Million

31 thoughts on “BT Buys Ribbit for $105 Million”

  1. Wow, this is great news for Ribbit !! I guess the race for traditional telcos to embrace the open market and get out of their walled gardens has begun. Flash telephony and in general voice 2.0 is here to stay and is the future.

    So, for the telcos, it’s either move with the force or stay closed and perish. I think BT is trailblazing the path of integrating the traditional and next generation (flash telephony) with Ribbit acquistion.

    This ups the stake for the other flash telephony players in the market, ones which have a compelling platform for voice 2.0. OM, who do you think are the players ?

  2. For telcos to stay relevant, they must embrace the voice 2.0 world. BT made a bold first step into this world with the Web21C SDK but it struggled to find the business dedication to really capitalise on the opportunity. The Ribbit acquisition not only presents a natural and welcome techncal extension to their developer program but also brings on board a team that really know and care about driving revenue from third party voice applications. Ribbit is in fact the only voice player with a robust and proven ecosystem model, and the opportunity that this marriage to BT presents to web developers to voice enable any kind of web applications is awesome.

  3. Good for Ribbit but I don’t understand a $100M valuation from a BT perspective. The Ribbit solution is well developed and fairly complete but not anything that can not be duplicated fairly easily. An API stack on top of a softswitch. Many companies, including ouselves, have built something similar for their internal business needs. Most are not as visible as Ribbit and are not marketing the functionality as an external service.

    Good PR, a Silicon Valley buzz, and a grand ambition buyer pays off in this case.

  4. BT will make this work. Remember that the BT 21CN network isn’t due to be complete in the UK until 2012 but it’s going well so don’t underestime BT. BT are implimenting 21CN across their network in 170 countries. This should add more choices for them Voip wise. Whether they’ll be embedding the software inside their hardware, or adding it as a free service to their existing customers remains to be seen. A great purchase and very timely so good luck to them both.

  5. I would like to know how they came to the $ 105 M valuation. Ribbit is indeed a very creative platform with a tremendous potential, but 100M is high for a company without signoficant revenue.

  6. Have to think that RingCentral will be in play shortly. Lines have become so commoditized that the value now likes in the virtual pbx.

    Prime suitors imo include:

    – Cisco
    – ATT
    – TMobile
    – Verizon
    – Comcast

  7. @Senor Grande

    Don’t forget that RingCentral signed a deal with BT just a few months back.
    RingCentral’s customer acquisition costs are probably through the stratosphere and they are competing with J2 Global who has lots more cash (NASDAQ: JCOM). Also, because the barrier to entry for virtual pbx is so low I’dbe willing to bet there are some very high customer churn issues.
    Also, don’t forget that GOOG bought Grandcentral. When they relaunch that will be a nail in the coffin for many virtual pbx companies. AND a rumor floating around is that Vonage may be launching a similar virtual pbx service.

  8. @Gary, What is your experience with Ribbit? We weren’t happy with the kind of response we were getting from them. Maybe they only support big names 🙂

    We are building a RIA (flash based) wherein we wanted to integrate flash-based voice communication but didn’t get any satisfactory answers on performance, scalability or telecom specific questions from Ribbit.

    So, after some more research, we are now finally building our application on tringme platform after a successful prototype. So far tring me is responding well to our requirements.

  9. I am more than a little late to this post but, much has happened since the Ribbit announcement that makes commenting of interest today. Of course, all of us implicated in the emerging telephony space rejoiced at some level when the deal went firm. Someone had to go first and no one is complaining about where the initial bar was set. Will BT be able to monetize the acquisition? Anybody’s guess, and I can’t offer much in that direction as I don’t work much in BT’s market.

    More interesting to me is that the notion of a voice platform is firmly alive and well. For 2-3 years now we’ve called them hosted services and wondered how they would make money. Now, they’re platforms (notwithstanding the fact that most if not all are in some way interconnected to a network). And while for some we are still wondering how they will monetize, this is a process. Three short years ago, even the term hosted was difficult for people to grasp. Now, we don’t go to market in any other way.

    Since the announcement, other leading ‘platform’ providers have been busy – coincidentally or not. Jon Arnold – an ‘A’ student in this market – recently wrote about Jajah and IfByPhone in the context of the Ribbit deal. Worth a read at http://voipservices.tmcnet.com/feature/articles/37107-platform-play-updates-solid-proof-points-service-providers.htm

    In my opinion, IfByPhone deserves a closer look for those taken by the Ribbit transaction. The two companies have very different histories; and their packaging and go-to-markets differ in many ways. For the moment, Ribbit depended more on developers to commercialize. IfByPhone – whose platform was built entirely with web developers in mind – is widely available to the developer community yet at the same time they choose to package services that small business can afford, can use and can quickly see benefit from. By doing so, they create market validation, they monetize and they show the development community what can be done. What is perhaps most impressive – and indicative of the depth of the platform – is how quickly they can enter market segments. They see a market requirement through their commercial efforts, they package the application and bang the SMB community can jump on.

    So while we ponder if BT can take what is truly a platform and monetize it inside their own ecosystem, should we not wonder what it would take for one of our stateside players (ie. Comcast) to make a similar decision? In my opinion, it will take proof of concept and it will take a pure SMB offer. IfByPhone should be watched.

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