When I identified VoIP application platform provider Ribbit as one of the “DEMO 10,” I wrote:
My bet: Ribbit is gaining momentum among a range of established companies who need Ribbit’s platform to deliver integrated voice capabilities into their products, giving Ribbit big company potential; expect an IPO in several years time.
I was wrong. There’s no IPO in Ribbit’s future. Just 6 months after the company rolled out the Amphibian platform at DEMO 08, the startup has been acquired by British Telecom. The company is among the fastest from DEMO launch to acquisitions ever.
Don Thorson game me the heads up late last week that something was in the offing, and today the company, along with BT, made the official announcement.
Ribbit architected the platform for what the company called “the first Silicon Valley Phone Company.” A high ambition to be sure, and one that has now been legitimized by BT. The open platform enables third-party developers to deliver VoIP applications that integrate communications services into a range of use cases.
While the $105M price tag may seem modest by some standards, it is a measure of the velocity with which Ribbit – and this emerging market are moving. The company only emerged from R&D stealth about 8 months ago, and announced the applications platform at DEMO 08 in February. That the buyer is a telco affirms the shift to IP-based communications and reinforces the vision of Ribbit’s founders that a new-generation of integrated voice services lies just ahead.
The acquisition is also good news for companies like PanTerra Networks that have been pushing similar architectures to enterprise customers. An endorsement-by-acquisition of the sea-change in telephony can only support their work.