FreedomPop is the world’s first and only free mobile service for users – no bills, no strings attached. After successfully reaching 1M users and raising $30M from venture capital and strategic investors, FreedomPop is a brand that is poised for stardom (and spurning suitors).
Here, Founder and CEO Stephen Stokols tells us a little more about the company, the fundraising process, and FreedomPop’s plans.
Tell us about your product or service.
FreedomPop provides free mobile services worldwide, including free mobile data, text and voice services on a variety of smartphones and devices. Freedom users can stay connected to family and friends at no cost while at home, or while traveling in the U.S. or abroad.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise? Was it seed, Series A, B, etc?
The Series B was lead by Partech Ventures. Existing investors DCM Capital and Mangrove Capital also contributed to the latest round. In addition, a new strategic investor is also being added to the round, but is not part of the initial tranche and will be announced separately.
The desire to ensure anyone can get basic wireless services free and building a model and technology to deliver that.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Anyone who wants to potentially save hundreds of dollars each year on their mobile services. The mobile industry is an $880 billion global market, so the opportunity is huge.
What’s your business model?
We have a freemium business model. Like Spotify or Dropbox, we make money on value added service upsells (e.g. international calling) and larger data allotments for heavier usage users.
What was the funding process like?
Before we decided to pursue funding, we had M&A offers from several companies. We ultimately believe we can drive significantly more value going it alone.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
Growing the business while being distracted with fundraising.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We have a unique business model that enables free mobile services for users, but also allows us to make money by selling premium services, leading to customer and revenue growth. Our investors believe we can continue our growth and success, and we do too.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
We plan to hit 1M subscribers, launch our service in the U.K, and expand to additional countries.
What advice can you offer companies in Los Angeles that do not have a fresh injection of capital in the bank?
Get profitable so you don’t need to depend on funding.
What’s your favorite LA bar, when you need to kick back and relax?
Hinoki and the Bird