3i and BV Capital Lead Investor Group in Largest Independent Broadband Services Provider,/strong>
SEATTLE, March 16, 2004 - Speakeasy (www.speakeasy.net), the nation's largest independent broadband services provider, announced the closing of a $24.0 million series D financing round, its largest fundraising effort to date. Venture capital firms 3i and BV Capital, well known for supporting innovative and high-growth businesses, led the investment round. The investment will fuel Speakeasy's aggressive expansion plans, including the completion of its network infrastructure, expanded presence in top subscriber markets and development of new product offerings, including a launch of Voice-over IP (VoIP) solutions for business and residential customers. Additionally, the company plans to leverage its strong position with online gamers and will introduce a variety of related initiatives and services.
"Speakeasy has created a successful growth model serving small businesses, gamers, and the pioneering users that push broadband forward for everyone. This investor support enables us to continue our aggressive expansion strategies. We are pleased to partner with 3i and BV Capital who share our vision of taking broadband services to the next level," said Speakeasy CEO and president Bruce Chatterley. "Speakeasy has grown exponentially since 1999 and with our new financial partners, we have the platform and resources to continue to expand our services and grow our business."
Speakeasy achieved profitability and passed the $50 million mark in recurring revenues during 2003. Founded as one of the world's first Internet cafes in 1994 by Mike Apgar (now chairman), Speakeasy quickly grew and eventually expanded into full-service national broadband services, its primary focus today. Offering a range of business and residential broadband services and solutions, Speakeasy is an innovator in high-speed access for the small business, gaming and "power user" segments of the market. Speakeasy offers unrestricted WiFi usage policies, a wide variety of value-added services and plans, and top-rated customer support. Currently, six out of seven new Speakeasy subscribers come from another broadband provider, and the company has seen this trend accelerate over the past year as broadband users become more knowledgeable and expect more from their service providers.
"Speakeasy has successfully defined and built a business around a sweet spot of the most valuable broadband users in the market," commented David Silverman, partner with 3i in Menlo Park. "We are excited to work alongside the team to continue to scale the business through this next inflection point of rapid growth." 3i has invested more than $26 billion worldwide in more than 15 industry sectors including communications & technology, semiconductors, healthcare, transportation and retail. In the United States, 3i concentrates on early- and late-stage technology investments in companies with the potential to be leaders in their markets including recent investments in Bitfone, Cometa Networks, Mobileway, Sonim and Vonage. Concurrent with the funding, Mr. Silverman, will join Speakeasy's Board of Directors.
Jan Buettner, Managing General Partner of BV Capital commented, "we believe Speakeasy is an innovator in the broadband services industry, expertly managed and poised for significant growth. We are excited to support the company's aggressive plans." BV Capital is an independent venture capital fund, backed by high profile international investors. Focusing on emerging companies with the potential to achieve world-class success, BV Capital has invested in successful companies including Expertcity, nCircle Network Security, Pronto Networks, Shopping.com and Sonim Technologies. Concurrent with the funding, Mr. Buettner will be added to Speakeasy's Board of Directors.
Cascadia Capital worked as an advisor to Speakeasy on this transaction. In addition to 3i and BV Capital, existing Speakeasy investors Ares Management, LP, Cornerstone Ventures, Matthew G. Norton and Granite Ventures also participated.
Founded in 1994, Speakeasy is the nation's largest independent broadband service provider. Combining a nationwide network, intelligent customer service along with pioneering technologies and product offerings, Speakeasy delivers a superior online experience for demanding broadband users. Speakeasy broadband is available in most metropolitan areas within the 48 contiguous states. Those interested in Speakeasy's broadband service can visit www.speakeasy.net or call customer service at 1.800.556.5829 (24 hours a day, seven days a week).