Berlin-based (at least according to their YC listing) Gigs, which hails itself as the world’s first (🚩), “telecom-as-a-service platform that enables companies to offer phone and data plans through an easy-to-use API” has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round.
The secure line is expected to help Gigs scale the team accordingly in order to meet what they report as “growing demand”. According to the company, the investment has also been earmarked to, "refine its technical infrastructure". Although Gigs’ seed round goes on record as of 22 March 2021, an amount has proven less than transparent in uncovering.
According to a statement issued by the company, “Gigs is building a platform to enable any business to offer eSIM & SIM enabled phone plans of any size on any network globally.” Riiiiight.
Your honour, the only question I have is, "why?" Let’s dissect, shall we?
Perhaps a better way to understand things is to zoom out and do a “We’re the airbnb of bla bla bla, or the Uber of yadda yadda” in which case, what Gigs is aiming to tackle is doing what AWS has done for the hosting industry, or what Stripe did for payments.
In so much, what Gigs is offering brands is a turnkey solution that enables them to launch their own global mobile service, with the ultimate goal of squeezing every last penny out of them through recurring revenue streams, while still retaining full control over brand and pricing. Yum!
“So far only IoT and travel data have seen a limited form of innovation. We saw the need to provide any company from any industry with full frictionless access to networks incl. 5G, Voice & SMS in order to innovate and launch new connectivity products and open up new revenue streams,” commented co-founder and CEO Hermann Frank.
If you’re thinking that this whole process must be incredibly complex and involved, well, note my words above, particularly “turnkey solution”. Slimming the entire process of what once was a global endeavour down to 5 API calls. Now I’m no developer genius, but even I can follow some rudimentary fundamentals of an API call and if Gigs truly delivers on its promise, well, stay tuned, DT might be launched within days and give BT a run for its money.
Co-founder Dennis Bauer further elaborated on this promise Gigs is aiming to deliver, “Telecom operators have failed to make their services easily available to technology-enabled businesses and remain a closed system. We are pursuing a once-in-a-decade opportunity to modernise an industry that has to date failed to adapt to the needs of modern, technology-enabled platforms.”
Right, make myself technology-enabled first. Got it.
“Before Gigs, companies interested in offering phone plans would have to spend months negotiating contracts with telecom providers, committing millions of $ in spend, integrating with their networks, and building software to offer and manage subscriptions to their users. This barrier proved insurmountable for most businesses, stifling innovation at a moment when connectivity is more important than ever. With Gigs, companies will be able offer phone plans in any market they operate in, all through the same integration.”
Wait a second, will be able (to) offer? So I guess not at present. This might explain the “further refine its tech infrastructure”?
Either way, Gigs has attracted the eyes, ears, hearts, minds, and chequebooks of round lead Gradient, Google’s early-stage fund, YC Continuity, Crane Venture Partners, Speedinvest, BoxGroup, Dara Khosrowshahi (CEO of Uber), Tony Xu (Co-founder & CEO of DoorDash), Fidji Simo (CEO of Instacart), Hanno Renner (Co-founder & CEO of Personio), Max Tayenthal (Co-Founder & Co-CEO of N26) and many (undisclosed) others.
“Gigs is a true category creator that fundamentally changes the dynamics in the telecommunications space,” commented Gradient’s Darian Shirazi. “By allowing businesses to integrate with operator services within days and opening up technology platforms to operators as new channels to sell through, Gigs is unlocking the next wave of innovation in connectivity. Gigs has the unique opportunity to digitalize the $1T+ annual mobile subscription market by making it embeddable into any modern platform or product.”