GreatCall has built a business bucking the trend of feature-rich cell phones that are getting to be as complex as computers. Its Jitterbug phone is aimed at people who only want one simple thing out their phones — to make calls.

The Del Mar, Calif.-based company said today it has raised $38 million in a third round of funding so it can build additional sales channels and develop new services, applications and devices.

Jitterbug is on the forefront of cell phone backlash, particularly among older adults. The company designed its phone for calls only. It has big keys that are easy to see and hard to miss with a finger. And the backlit display lights up with large numbers while dialing. The phone has powerful speakers for loud volumes and has 24-hour operators who can dial calls and add friends to the phone’s address book. Service starts at $10 a month.

The company launched the phone in 2006.

The round was led by Court Square Ventures. Existing investors Steelpoint Capital, Charles River Ventures, Nauta Capital, and company founders Marty Cooper and Arlene Harris also participated in the round. In addition, Sumitomo fully converted its previously issued notes. Jim Murray, a general partner with Court Square, will join the company’s board of directors.

The company’s founders are an interesting pair. Harris, chairwoman, was the first woman inducted into the “Wireless Hall of Fame.” And Cooper is the father of the first portable cell phone.

Jitterbug phones are available is also available at Best Buy, Sears, select CVS, Beltone Hearing Centers, and wireless retailers across the country. Service coverage is available in the U.S. and Canada. Verizon Wireless has a competing phone made by UT Starcom for older adults and CEO Lowell McAdam said last year that it couldn’t make them fast enough.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Learn more about membership.

Author
Topics