Mobile

FreedomPop raises $4.3M more, expands ‘social broadband’ platform for free wireless

FreedomPop Photon hotspot

FreedomPop’s dream of offering free wireless broadband to consumers has been a hit with its investors.

Today the company announced that it has raised an addition $4.3 million for its first round from existing investors DCM and Mangrove Capital, on top of the the $7.5 million it raised last year. Additionally, the company is making its social broadband platform even more useful by letting you use social networks to request more bandwidth from friends.

Los Angeles-based FreedomPop made headlines last year with its seemingly impossible goal: Offering wireless devices that offer a significant chunk of bandwidth for free, with the ability to earn even more free bandwidth by bringing on friends. So far the company has released a 4G wireless sleeve for the iPod Touch, and a USB stick, and a wireless hotspot. All of its devices run on ClearWire’s 4G WiMax network, though the company says its future devices will on run Sprint’s LTE 4G network.

Now when you invite a friend to FreedomPop, you’ll get an additional 50 megabytes of monthly bandwidth, instead of just 10 MB.

Stephen Sokols, FreedomPop’s chief executive, said that the company “exceeded investor expectations,” in an interview with VentureBeat. While the company will eventually raise a much larger second round, the additional internal funding is a way to reward its existing investors. Sokols said that all of FreedomPop’s growth has been completely organic, so it hasn’t had to waste much money with big marketing efforts.

FreedomPop has given away nearly 2 terabytes of free bandwidth since its launch, Sokols said. Subscribers are also inviting 15 friends on average to the service.

The company’s recently announced home wireless router is going to officially launch within three to four weeks, Sokols said, while the iPhone 4 case is currently pending FCC approval. He said that FreedomPop will eventually offer an iPhone 5 case, though details about that device are still up in the air.


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