Fuze Bags $150M as Business Communications Competition Heats Up

Another year, another $100 million-plus funding round for Fuze, the cloud-based business communications software company.

Boston-based Fuze said Wednesday evening that it recently raised a $150 million equity funding round led by Summit Partners, which was joined in the investment by other previous Fuze backers, including Bessemer Venture Partners.

Fuze pulled in a $134 million investment last year and a $112 million round in 2016. Its venture capital haul now totals $484.4 million, according to a press release.

The latest funding round values Fuze at $400 million, according to PitchBook, which cited a regulatory document it obtained. If correct, that would be a steep drop from Fuze’s $765 million valuation a year ago, according to PitchBook.

A Fuze spokeswoman hasn’t responded to an e-mail from Xconomy inquiring about the valuation.

In past interviews, Fuze officials have declined to share the company’s valuation, although co-founder and executive chairman Steve Kokinos (pictured above) said last year’s financing was an “up round.” After the 2016 funding round, he said, “Our view is that the whole unicorn thing is overplayed at this point.”

Fuze is one of the biggest technology bets in New England, and the latest cash infusion raises the already-high stakes for a possible exit. Kokinos said last year that the company would “likely” go public in 2018 (but we’ll see). The environment for tech IPOs has improved this year, particularly for enterprise software companies, which bodes well for Fuze if it decides to go that route.

Fuze was founded in 2005 as Thinking Phone Networks and later was known as ThinkingPhones; it initially focused on voice communications. It has since added video conferencing, group chat, and other capabilities, with products that work across desktop and mobile devices.

Fuze is part of a wave of companies helping shift businesses’ communication tools to the cloud and unifying the functions in one software platform, as the workforce becomes more distributed and workers perform more tasks on smartphones and tablets. Its competitors include Slack, Twilio, RingCentral, and Mitel, along with products from big companies like Microsoft and Google.

In addition to the $150 million round, Fuze also announced the latest version of its software platform on Wednesday. The 700-person company said the new funding would be invested in product development and continued international expansion.

“We have great momentum right now in the enterprise market,” Fuze CEO Colin Doherty said in a prepared statement. “This investment enables Fuze to grow and innovate even faster.”

Jeff Engel is a senior editor at Xconomy. Email: jengel@xconomy.com Follow @JeffEngelXcon

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