Another internet voice startup has ceased independent existence: Telecommunication services company SabSe has bought Jaxtr for an undisclosed amount.
Jaxtr, as we’ve covered over the last few years, has gained more than 10 million total users through a widget and other tools for making cheap or free calls between your computer and the world.
But the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company is the latest in a line of Silicon Valley voice startups to get purchased before they could prove themselves to be big businesses. Two other consumer-facing VoIP startups, Jajah and Jangl, merged last year [clarification: Jajah and Jangl first formed a strategic partnership in 2007; in early 2008, Jajah absorbed some of Jangl's assets and employees]. And voice-web platform company Ribbit sold for a cool $105 million to telecommunications giant BT last summer.
The concept of using a computer to bypass cell phones and landlines seemed like a huge idea earlier this decade. Many voice startups raised tens of millions of dollars in venture money; Jaxtr, for example, raised a total of $21.5 million. But aside from Skype’s misguided sale to eBay, most so-called voice over internet protocol (VoIP) startups haven’t made a lot of money, at least that we’ve heard of. Jaxtr has introduced a variety of for-fee services, including discount international calling plans.
The company’s brand will stay separate from Mountain View, Calif.-based SabSe, although other parts of its technology will be integrated, according to the press release. SabSe offers a “Telephony Applications as a Service” platform and a web-based application programming interface, both intended to help telecommunications companies build quality voice services for the web.