BT today announced it has acquired Ribbit Corporation, a Silicon Valley-based “Telco 2.0” platform company, for $105 million in cash, on a cash-free, debt-free basis. The acquisition will accelerate BT’s strategy to transform itself into a next- generation, platform-based, software-driven services company.
Based in Mountain View, California, Ribbit – “Silicon Valley’s First Phone Company” – provides an open platform which enables developers to create new and innovative voice applications and services by combining telephony and internet technologies in new ways.
JP Rangaswami, managing director of service design at BT, said: “Silicon Valley is emerging as a hotbed of telecommunications innovation. With Ribbit, not only do we extend our presence in the Valley, but we also gain a groundbreaking platform, a growing community of developers and a world-class team that share a common vision. Buying Ribbit lets us accelerate that vision.”
Ted Griggs, Chief Executive of Ribbit, said: “The communications industry is entering a new phase. Closed networks are becoming open platforms and developers are now driving innovation. By adding Ribbit’s capability to the power of BT’s global 21CN platform, we will now be able to give the development community the tools they need to innovate on a global scale. We are delighted – BT is exactly the partner we were seeking.”
Using Ribbit’s platform, developers are able to add voice and automation features to virtually any web-based application or community. For example, using Ribbit, developers have integrated voice into salesforce.com and built voice applications that run directly from Facebook or iGoogle. Since its launch, Ribbit has attracted thousands of developers, launched an innovative solution for the enterprise software market, and has begun testing a consumer application scheduled for general release later this year.
The acquisition of the Ribbit platform will complement BT’s existing capability in the software platform space with its award-winning Software Development Kit (SDK) initiative. BT’s SDKs enable developers to integrate new applications with BT’s services using a single line of code. Ribbit, which will maintain its management team and identity, will extend its global footprint by becoming part of BT, one of the world’s leading providers of communications solutions and services operating in 170 countries.
Michael Boustridge, President, BT Americas said: “The Ribbit platform makes it simpler, cheaper and faster to build communications functionality into applications, enabling developers to introduce new revenue-generating voice services in hours, rather than weeks. By combining the Ribbit platform with BT’s existing web services, we have the potential to deliver some of the world’s finest applications for communications innovation benefiting consumers and businesses alike.”
Ribbit Corporation was founded in February 2006 and funded by venture capital firms Alsop Louie Partners, Allegis Capital, KPG Ventures and Peninsula Ventures. Ribbit is being acquired from these firms and other stockholders of Ribbit’s, including founders and employees.