News – Onebox.com Wraps $50M Mezz Round

Perhaps the application service provider model will become passe at some point. But for the moment the concept remains red-hot in venture capital circles.

Onebox.com of San Mateo, Calif., is the latest company to launch secure funding on the model, as the communications ASP business closed a $50 million mezzanine equity financing Feb. 7 that will serve as a launching pad for international efforts.

Meritech Capital Partners led the investment that also included new commitments from Bowman Capital Management and international venture firms Vision Capital and MacQuarie Technology Funds. The company’s existing investors – Institutional Venture Partners and Brentwood Venture Capital – also participated in this round after leading Onebox.com’s first two venture transactions.

“We were looking for a combination of late-stage mezzanine players and VCs that could support an international thrust,” said Mark Linden, chief financial officer at Onebox.com. “Vision and MacQuarie provide access in key areas where wireless is a huge growth opportunity.”

Linden, who joined the company in March from Oneworld, said Onebox.com provides a broad set of unified messaging capabilities and services that wholesale communications customers can choose from. Currently, the company’s basic service includes voice mail, e-mail and fax mail options. However, he said Onebox.com will add functions that support non-simultaneous communications and real-time communications.

Launched as a retail site, Onebox.com is becoming increasingly oriented toward the business-to-business marketplace. Linden said the target customers for the company are telecom companies and other Web-based businesses that maintain a focus on unified messaging.

“We will provide these players with UM as a turnkey service,” Linden said.

The company has established relationships and alliances with businesses such as Amazon.com, ZDNet, NeoPoint and Bolt.com that provide site users with access to send, store and retrieve voice, fax and e-mail messages. The company has based its infrastructure upon Internet protocol and since launching last September has registered more than 2.5 million users.

Proceeds from the transaction primarily will serve as working capital for the company’s international expansion and additional funds will be spent on customer service.