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Inside Hexa

Aircall (eF14) raises $120m Series D and becomes the first eFounders unicorn

We’re incredibly excited to announce today that Aircall (eF14) raises $120m in Series D funding led by Goldman Sachs. With this funding, Aircall has officially entered unicorn territory. A huge milestone for the team at Aircall, but also for us, the startup studio where Aircall was born 7 years ago.

A story of resilience 💪

In 2013, the idea for Aircall was in the air at Rue du Sentier (what used to be our HQ and where Front was launched too!). It was known as PhoneX then.

PhoneX was directly inspired by the issues our founder Thibaud faced while building his first company, Fotolia. As the company grew and operated internationally, they had to buy local phone numbers in each country and handle calls across the globe — it was far from being easy. Textmaster, one of the first eFounders ventures handling translations around the globe — faced the same issue. Thibaud and Quentin pitched the idea to Olivier Pailhes (the now cofounder and CEO of Aircall). And he came onboard.

The first pitch in 2013:

The idea with PhoneX is to position ourselves as a SaaS in the telephony space. First, we want to provide an interface to any company, regardless of its size, to buy local numbers and to manage them with ease (redirect numbers, mini voice response) but more importantly, we want to offer more voice tech products (like click-to-call in WEBRTC). The idea is also to, from the beginning, position ourselves as the only company that provides a phone API as a SaaS.

One of the very first Aircall wireframes (2013)

The path to success was all but straightforward for Aircall. The team applied to YC and didn’t get accepted, met with a couple of big VCs who basically told them they’d get crushed by the big American giants, and the CTO who had joined us left.

No crazy traction right from the beginning, no smooth sailing right from the start. We’re talking about a real startup story here. The one filled with failures, mistakes but above all, extremely hard-work and determination.

Olivier persevered. If it wasn’t for his determination, Aircall wouldn’t be the company it is today. Then came onboard three cofounders Jonathan Anguelov (COO and cofounder), Pierre-Baptiste Béchu (Software Engineer), and Xavier Durant (Software Engineer).

Together, they overcame huge tech challenges and stayed relevant in a highly competitive market. They took Aircall to new heights.

In 2015, Aircall got accepted into 500 startups, won over prestigious investors like Bernard Liautaud from Balderton (and founder of Business Objects), who’s now serving on the board along our side.

When Aircall reached 10M calls in 2015

The very first eFounders Unicorn 🦄

Today, we celebrate Aircall’s Series D funding round. Led by Goldman Sachs, and with the participation of existing investors, this round now brings the company’s valuation to more than $1B. Aircall is officially a unicorn! 👏

We’re thrilled for the Aircall team, who fully deserved to have reached this symbolic milestone. Props to the team for believing in their vision and sticking to it at the hardest of times.

Olivier pitching at Showtime in 2014 (our old DemoTime!)

It’s a special moment for us too. We’ve just celebrated our 10 year anniversary and now can share that Aircall is the first unicorn to come out from our studio.

We’ve already proven that we could build sustainable and successful companies — 30 companies launched, 1500 jobs created, and millions of teams around the world who we’ve helped better collaborate.

Now, we’ve proven that we can launch unicorns.

This is further validation for the startup studio model. Aircall wasn’t brought up in the startup wild but within our studio. It wasn’t brought up with a couple of solo founders, but with the whole eFounders team. Aircall proves that our model of team entrepreneurship works.

And we have a feeling there are more eFounders unicorns being brought up right now 👀

Thibaud (eFounders) and Jonathan (COO & Cofounder Aircall)

The best is on the way 🚀

Aircall has achieved record-breaking growth over the past year. The team saw more than 65 percent total customer growth year over year and now has more than 8,500 customers worldwide.

With this new round of funding, Aircall will double down on its mission to help companies to enrich their customer experience through voice channels.

It plans on adding to its app ecosystem, opening new European offices in London and Berlin, partnering with major telecommunications companies, and further improving its technology to provide a global standard of high quality for voice.

To achieve this, Aircall who has offices in New York, Paris, Sydney, and Madrid, and recently passed the 450 employee mark, plans to recruit more than 260 new employees by the end of the year. So if you’re looking to join a high-growth company with huge ambitions, check out their job offers.

Huge congratulations to the whole Aircall team. We couldn’t be more proud to be part of this wild adventure 🎉

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