Back in April Fring, the Israel-based mobile call and chat application provider, closed a Series C round of financing, estimated to be around £10, on top of the $13 million it had raised since its inception in 2006. So in other words they have plenty of money to play with, lots of traction with their free, ad-supported mobile app that enables VoIP calling, IM and social networking. Android and other platforms await it. But the company faces plenty of other well-funded rivals, including Nimbuzz, Truphone and eBuddy, but also Skype, which recently launched a great app on the iPhone.
So why, at this crucial moment, have they lost a senior member of staff? Neal Fullman, former International communications director at fring, has now jumped ship to join Nimbuzz in the role of chief marketing officer, leading brand development, marketing and communications strategy. Nimbuzz claims to be growing at 25,000 new users a day.
Speaking to Fullman today he told me he wasn’t going to “slag off” Fring, but instead said he felt Nimbuzz had the “right strategy” going forward. He’d also been there two years. Could it be a case of getting itchy feet, waiting for four year-old Fring to – to use a well-worn British phrase – pull their finger out and get on with it? He wouldn’t say.
However, let’s not read too much into this. Marketing people are a dime a dozen and usually, once they’ve changed the logo at a company (“strategic rebranding”), there’s not much for them to do other than twiddle their thumbs until the next job comes along.
Nimbuzz is headquartered in the Netherlands, with offices in Argentina and Brazil and is backed by Mangrove Capital Partners who famously backed Skype, Naspers/MIH and Holtzbrinck Ventures.