Rebtel is a very interesting Swedish telephony company. This year, the Rebtel is expecting to make $75 million through VoIP telephony. The company has seen immense growth and it’s been a fantastic company to follow. Last Friday, the company released their Blackberry app to further fuel the growth. The reason, or at least one of the, why Rebtel has become so successful is their concept of VoIP calls – they don’t require the user to have a working internet connection, but instead transmit the calls through local numbers. This way, it sort of falls in between the likes of Skype and companies offering calling cards. It’s pretty much a perfect approach for the mobile generation.
In the interview Andreas Bernström sheds some light on how the company has grown and where they’re headed. With $75 million in expected revenues for this year, they want to remain independent and further grow the company.
ArcticStartup (AS): Rebtel is currently making tens of millions in revenue – what was the turning point or did things just grow?
Andreas Bernström (AB): Like most startups, it takes time to tweak the technology as well as find just the right business model. There was no specific Eureka moment, just lots of small and necessary steps until the technology and service ultimately reached a consistent high level of quality and low cost that our target market began using it and started passing the word along to their friends.
AS: Why is that Rebtel is able to grow so much and at such pace? What are the key drivers behind this?
AB: Virality is the key driver. Around 65% of new user growth come in through word of mouth. Rebtel focuses on quality calling at an honest price and this strikes a chord with the consumer who has traditionally been ripped off by calling cards and other dishonest online VoIP players. Ultimately, our users perceive the service to be so good that one Rebtel user will spread the service to a number of his/her friends.
AS: Regarding revenue – can you shed some light on the development of the previous years, revenue-wise?
AB: Sure. In 2008 revenues were $10.3m, $18.3m in 2009 and for 2010 we are $39.5m.
AS: Where are you guys headed? Skype M&A, IPO?
AB: Rebtel became profitable in 2010, and grew by 120% from 2009 so things are really starting to take off. We are in no rush for any form of exit and are instead looking forward to capitalizing on the opportunities available. We will spend time and money further developing our mobile applications, which is an area we are seeing tremendous growth as well as growing our core services. We see opportunities within SMS and IM. Our expectations for 2011are to generate revenues of $75m.