BRISBANE TECHPRENEUR SELLS FONEBOX TO US COMPANY
21 October 2016, Written by Karen Rickert
FONEBOX founder Jordan Grives has dialled up a lucrative exit strategy with the sale of his telecommunications business.
An undisclosed NASDAQ-listed US company, believed to be J2 Global, has acquired Fonebox in a deal reported to be worth $30 million.
The Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Awards finalist launched the business-to-business phone services provider in 2008 at just 18 years old.
Today, a team of 83 employees manage more than 4000 clients across Australia and New Zealand. The business turned over almost $10 million last financial year.
Grives says the deal has been a long time in the making, but can't disclose the buyer for reporting reasons.
"It was one of our biggest competitors, but now we are effectively joining forces," Grives says.
"The plan is to continue scaling up the business, I know they're on a very rapid growth trajectory.
"I'm still going to be around. Basically, I'll help integrate all the local businesses and play a regional sales director role across Australia and New Zealand."
He says Fonebox's client base and technology attracted the new owner, particularly the company's call routing and call recording systems.
The acquisition will be executed as more of a partnership, with the Fonebox brand and team to remain.
"The only thing changing is the parent company," Grives says.
"It will allow larger-combined clients to scale up and grow across Australia and New Zealand, and dabble in new products.
"Fonebox is now a much bigger business with the same great service. It gives us bigger leverage and buying power."
Grives plans to establish his own venture capital fund, Capital J Investments, to support emerging businesses next year.
He says the fund will initially focus on Brisbane-based technology businesses, but will consider any opportunities that come his way.
"Growing a business from scratch, you learn a lot along the way and the product doesn't necessarily matter as long as you're passionate," he says.
"I've learnt a lot that I can offer to budding entrepreneurs apart from just injecting cash. I want to see if it's something I can get behind and be passionate about to provide mentorship."
Advisors, Ben Wilson and Matthew Foote of Deloitte Corporate Finance and lawyers Tim Sayer and Heath Manning of Talbot Sayer worked on the deal.