Sunday, February 5, 2006

FON Raises $22 Million for Open Wi-Fi Access Sharing

FON, a start-up based in Madrid, Spain, secured EUR 18 million (US$21.7 million for its software that enables users to share their Wi-Fi access points while gaining access to a global community of Wi-Fi hotspots.

FON users, or "foneros," are able to connect to the Internet via FON WiFi hotspots provided by other foneros.

FON will drive its revenue from a multi-tiered subscription model. Members sign up in one of three foneros categories: Linus, Bill or Alien.

  • Linus members share their home WiFi hotspot with the FON network and can use any FON hotspot for free.

  • Bill members share their WiFi hotspots with Alien members for a fee.

  • Bills cannot roam the FON network for free.

  • Alien members pay to use the FON network on an as-needed basis. Fifty-percent of revenue generated from Aliens will be shared with Bills. Alien memberships are currently available on a free-trial basis.

Investors include Index Ventures, Google, Sequoia Capital and Skype. Index Ventures led the round. The company also announced that Danny Rimer (Index Ventures), Mike Volpi (Cisco) Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis (Skype) joined the board. Existing board members include Martin Varsavsky, FON CEO, and Antonio Fuentes, FON CFO.

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