Image credit: GNum

Singapore-based tech startup GNum announced today that it has raised S$7 million (US$5.6 million) in seed funding from private equity firm Tembusu Partners.

An official release said that GNum has developed a patent-pending technology that allows calls from any electronic device (PC, tablet and other mobile phones) to be routed to a GNum user’s mobile phone.

“GNum is a tech startup. We develop a technology enabling people online to reach people with a phone,” said Alexandre Yokoyama, CEO, GNum, in an interview with e27.

“In terms of features, it is similar to Skype. The difference is… we just require one of the sides to be a subscriber, and the caller doesn’t actually have to be a subscriber at all to use our system,” he added.

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The company uses GSM networks and in most cases doesn’t require any prior application download, which it says is unlike most hybrid peer-to-peer client-server systems. The service will allow users to stay contactable without revealing their mobile phone numbers.

“We are offering an alternative to OTT apps, which stands for ‘Over The Top’. Examples of OTT apps are Skype, Viber, WhatsApp and the like… We are still in beta, so we are going to use part of the funding to develop further offerings,” Yokoyama said.

GNum will use the funds to acquire related technologies and for working capital as it prepares for a nationwide rollout in Singapore in the coming months before launching in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia and the Philippines.

From there, it plans to launch in United States, China, Hong Kong, India and Australia. Yokoyama estimates the funding will support GNum’s expanding operations for at least the next two years.

“In our technology pipeline, there is an important component related to Big Data. I come from a Google and digital experience, and I know how critical it can be to understand how people are communicating, how they are talking online. So we plan to use part of the funding either to acquire or establish partnership with a Big Data company… to perform better and provide better service to the user,” Yokoyama said.

Tembusu Partners, which is investing in GNum out of its Tembusu Growth Fund II, manages some S$300 million (US$240 million) and targets high-growth enterprises across Asia.

Also Read: Skype to discontinue voice calling to phones within India