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AMSTERDAM–(BUSINESS WIRE)–December 16, 2013–
Freenom, the free domain name provider, announced today that it has closed $3M in Series A funding from a group of investors led by Kima Ventures (KIMA), the most active angel investor in the world. Freenom will use the funds to expand its top level domain management operations, to expand its AnyCast cloud network and the development of commercial initiatives combining country top level domains with local communities.
“Our current partners are very committed to the free domain name idea and industry,” said Joost Zuurbier, CEO & Founder of Freenom. “We are pleased to work with KIMA and the other members of this investment group to accelerate our growth and to expand our technology and presence online.”
One of KIMA’s Co-founders, Xavier Niel, is a French entrepreneur and businessman, active in the telecommunications and technology industry and best known as founder and majority shareholder of the French Internet service provider Iliad, trading under the Free brand. The management of Freenom recognizes his experience and know-how in freemium business models as a valuable asset to the company.
Freenom is managing the registry operations for the TK (Tokelau), GA (Gabon), CF (Central African Republic) and ML (Mali) top level domains. With more than 20 million active domain names, Freenom manages the largest domain name portfolio after .COM. Domains are provided for free to individuals and businesses worldwide. These domains work as any other paid domain. Websites with a free domain have no advertisements and can be renewed at no cost.
Free domain name registrants are found everywhere, especially in regions where the number of internet users is increasing rapidly. China and Brazil are amongst the largest user groups of free domains. But also in the local partner countries, like Gabon and Mali, free domains have become very popular.
“The free domain name model radically changes the way a top level domain registry operates. We help partner countries to transform paid domain systems and processes into a new platform where domains are free and can be registered by everyone, locally and abroad.” Zuurbier continues. “We try to build truly win-win relationships with our partner countries. As a result we’ve seen a huge increase of local website building and technology usage locally, while providing the countries an additional income stream and promotional exposure. KIMA’s investment allows us to rapidly expand this platform, to reach out to additional countries and to invest in new partner relationships.”
Revenue is generated by monetizing the expired domain names. Domains that are no longer used by the registrant or are expired are taken back by Freenom and the residual traffic is sold to advertisement networks. Next to this primary source of income, additional revenue will be generated by offering digital white labeled services, such as hosting packages, SSL certificates and others, to free domain name users. These new services will be available from January 2014 onwards.
Freenom found a safe way to provide free domain names to the global internet community. Freenom operates a global network of more than 50 trusted partners that have implemented an API to take down domain names immediately when these domains are allegedly involved in spam, phishing or copyright infringement. Partners include Facebook, Twitter, Anti Phishing Alliance of China and many others. As a result of this initiative .TK, the largest country code top level domain, is seen as one of the safest domains, according to a recent study of Architelos.
About Freenom: Freenom is a Registry Operator for top level domains. With a secure and stable DNS AnyCast Cloud, fast Registration System and unique business model built around free domain names Freenom provides a complete solution for all top level domains. Freenom operates more than 20 million active domain names and is the largest Registry Operator after .COM. Freenom is headquartered in Amsterdam, Netherlands, but has satellite offices in Palo Alto (U.S.A.) and Dakar (Senegal).
About Kima Ventures: The Kima Ventures fund was started in 2010 by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs with the goal to support and finance innovative companies with seed capital all over the world. Since 2010, Kima Ventures has made investments in 205 companies in 23 different countries all over the world including companies such as Sparrow, Rapportive, FreshPlanet/SongPop, FormLabs, MovableInk, Powtoon, Weekdone, ShareDesk and BoatBound.
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