V-Enable, the San Diego startup that offers an information directory service for mobile phones called FreeMobile411, has raised half of a new $2.2 million funding round, VentureBeat has learned.
FreeMobile411′s offering comes in two forms — there’s a downloadable voice search application, through which you request address and contact information for a business or residence, as well as a mobile site, where you can make the same requests as a normal text search. V-Enable is going up against some big search companies — Google offers 1-800-GOOG-411, while Yahoo announced earlier this year that it will team with voice search startup Vlingo for its mobile offering oneSearch.
But FreeMobile411 has two advantages: It’s not limited to business listings, because it also includes 140 million residential listings, and it’s not completely automated either. If a caller’s having trouble with the normal service, FreeMobile411 can connect them to a live operator (for a small fee). Unfortunately, you can only download the voice service if your carrier has a deal with V-Enable, which means I can’t get the service on my iPhone. Supported carriers include AllTell, MetroPCS and Sprint.
The company previously raised around $20 million in venture funding. It isn’t disclosing the number of calls it serves, but it has released some interesting data about its most popular searches — recently, pizza-related calls appear to be on the rise.
A company spokesperson confirmed the funding, but didn’t offer any additional details. Backers include existing investors Palisades Ventures, Softbank Capital and Sorrento Ventures.