Twilio - Fuelling The Future Of Communications

Sarika Anand Sarika Anand
Jan 8, 2021 7 min read
Twilio - Fuelling The Future Of Communications

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Cloud communications are Internet-based voice and data communications where telecommunications applications, switching and storage are hosted by a third-party outside of the organization using them, and they are accessed over the public Internet.

Twilio is an American cloud communications platform as a service company based in San Francisco, California. Twilio allows software developers to programmatically make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messages, and perform other communication functions using its web service APIs.

Twilio - Company Highlights

Startup Name Twilio Inc.
Headquarters San Francisco, United States
Industry Cloud Computing, Software
Founded 2008
Founders Jeff Lawson, Evan Cooke, and John Wolthuis
Area Served Worldwide

Twilio - About and How it Works?
Twilio - Recent News
Twilio - Logo and its Meaning
Twilio - Founder and History
Twilio - Mission
Twilio - Business Model
Twilio - Revenue and Growth
Twilio - Funding and Investors
Twilio - Investments
Twilio - Acquisitions
Twilio - Competitors
Twilio - Challenges Faced
Twilio - Future Plans
Twilio - FAQs

Twilio - About and How it Works?

Twilio Inc. develops and publishes internet infrastructure solutions. The Company offers cloud computing platform to allow web developers to integrate phone calls, internet protocol voice communications, and text messages into web, mobile, and phone applications. Twilio serves customers worldwide.

The company serves as a communications platform as a service company that allows software developers to integrate messaging and communications functionality into existing or new applications via application programming interfaces, or APIs, and software development kits, or SDKs.

The firm's Programmable Communications Cloud addresses several use cases, including Programmable Voice to make and receive phone calls, Programmable Messaging for SMS and MMS delivery, and Programmable Video that allows developers to embed video functionality in mobile and web applications.

Twilio - Recent News

As of November 2020, Twilio, the leading cloud communications platform, announced the successful completion of its previously announced acquisition of Segment, the market-leading customer data platform. This transaction is valued at approximately $3.2 billion in Twilio Class A common stock, on a fully diluted and cash free, debt free basis.

Twilio - Logo and its Meaning

Our logo is often the first and most memorable interaction someone will have with our brand. It has been precisely drawn for optimum visual balance.
Twilio's company logo
Twilio's company logo

Twilio - Founder and History

Twilio was founded in 2008 by Jeff Lawson, Evan Cooke, and John Wolthuis and was originally based in both Seattle, Washington, and San Francisco, California.

Jeff Lawson, an engineer from Michigan, was tired of dealing with the expensive contracts and equipment associated with his companiesโ€™ telecommunications operations. He dreamed of being able to add communications into his businessesโ€™ workflow in the same way he could add code to his software โ€“ specifically, enabling app developers to embed voice into their applications. In 2007, he met with twenty angel investors and venture capitalists, none of whom bought into his vision.

He forged ahead anyway, partnering with Evan Cooke and John Wolthuis to form a firm shortly after the financial crisis hit in 2008: Twilio. The company allowed clientsโ€™ developers to embed voice, video, messaging, and authentication directly into applications. They turned the service into a platform, and despite initial competition, the apps based on it began to achieve significant success.

Twilio's first major press coverage, in November 2008, was the result of an application built by Jeff Lawson to rickroll people, which investor Dave McClure used on TechCrunch founder and editor Michael Arrington as a prank. A few days later on November 20, 2008, the company launched Twilio Voice, an API to make and receive phone calls completely hosted in the cloud. Twilio's text messaging API was released in February 2010, and SMS shortcodes were released in public beta in July 2011.

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Twilio - Mission

Twilio's mission is to fuel the future of communications. By making communications a part of every software developer's toolkit, Twilio is enabling innovators across every industry โ€” from emerging leaders to the world's largest organizations โ€” to reinvent how companies engage with their customers.

Twilio - Business Model

Twilio gets paid a small fee every time one of its APIs is employed. Twilio has a niche market business model, serving a specialized customer segment. Its products target companies that want to embed telecommunications features into applications. Twilioโ€™s main channel is its direct sales force, through which it acquires new customers. It also markets its offerings through its website.

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Twilio - Revenue and Growth

โ€œOur performance in the third quarter is further evidence that Twilio's platform provides three things that every company needs today โ€” digital communications, software agility, and cloud scale.โ€

| Year | Amount | Percentage Change From Last Year |
| --- | --- | --- | --- |
| 2020 | $0.448B | +51.82% |
| 2019 | $1.134B | +74.52% |
| 2018 | $0.65B | +62.92% |
| 2017 | $0.399B | +43.88% |

Twilio - Funding and Investors

Twilio has raised a total of $236.2M in funding over 10 rounds. Their latest funding was raised on Mar 8, 2017 from a Undisclosed round. Twilio is funded by 24 investors. K2 Global and Victor Koch are the most recent investors.

Date Round Amount Lead Investors
Mar 8, 2017 Funding Round - -
Jan 12, 2016 Secondary Market $3.5M -
Jul 29, 2015 Series E $130M Fidelity, T. Rowe Price
Mar 31, 2015 Secondary Market - Founders Circle Capital
Jan 7, 2015 Secondary Market - Founders Circle Capital
Jun 7, 2013 Series D $70M Bessemer Venture Partners
Dec 7, 2011 Series C $17M Bessemer Venture Partners
Nov 9, 2010 Series B $12M Bessemer Venture Partners
Dec 30, 2009 Series A $3.7M Union Square Ventures
Apr 15, 2009 Seed Round - Techstars, Techstars Ventures

Twilio - Investments

Twilio has made 7 investments. Their most recent investment was on Sep 14, 2020, when Courier raised $10.1M.

Date Organization Name Round Amount
Sep 14, 2020 Courier Series A $10.1M
Apr 2, 2020 Tech Matters Seed Round $1.7M
Jul 11, 2018 Inspectorio Series A $10M
Jul 9, 2018 Cell-Ed Seed Round $1.6M
Feb 1, 2018 Edovo Seed Round $250K
Aug 2, 2017 Hustle Series A $8M
Jun 30, 2017 Fast Forward Venture Round $2.2M

Twilio - Acquisitions

Twilio has acquired 8 organizations. Their most recent acquisition was Segment on Oct 12, 2020. They acquired Segment for $3.2B.

Acquiree Name Date Amount About Acquiree
Segement Oct 12, 2020 $3.2B Segment provides customer data infrastructure that helps businesses put their customers first.
Electric Imp Jul 9, 2020 - Electric Imp provides a secure IoT platform, connecting cloud services with the real world
Teravoz Jan 14, 2020 - Teravoz is a hosted PBX Platform for SMBs and Call Centers, and telephony APIs
SendGrid Oct 15, 2018 $3B SendGrid is a cloud-based customer communication platform that drives engagement and business growth.
Ytica Sep 11, 2018 - Ytica is a SaaS omnichannel WFO for cloud based contact centers.
Beepsend SMS Feb 7, 2017 - Beepsend offers global connectivity with solutions for SMS-MT, HLR lookup, premium SMS, and billing services.
Kurento Sep 20, 2016 - Kurento is an open source software development framework providing a media server written in C/C++, which embeds.
Authy Feb 24, 2015 - Authy provides an API for developers to customize the user experience when adding two-factor authentication and multiple add-ons for apps.

Twilio - Competitors

Twilio's top competitors are :

  • Vonage Communications APIs (formerly Nexmo)
  • Plivo.
  • Bandwidth.
  • Telnyx.
  • Zipwhip.
  • MessageBird.
  • Infobip.
  • Voxbone, now part of Bandwidth.

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Twilio - Challenges Faced

In its early months of development, the San Francisco-based cloud communications company, founded in 2007, was comprised ofโ€ฆwell, mostly co-founders, as youโ€™d expect.

According to Twilioโ€™s chief executive officer and co-founder, Jeff Lawson, he faced the same problem every successful startup will eventually have to face: disconnection from his customers.

โ€œWhen you first start a company there are so many things that you intrinsically understand because you know all the customers, all the technology, everything, the longer we ran the company the more specialized the employees got and there was a disconnect between the customers and some of the employees.โ€

Twilio - Future Plans

"Twilio builds leading engineering teams around the world by giving ownership, agency, and exciting challenges to the most talented engineers." โ€” Chee Chew, Chief Product Officer, Twilio

The Covid-19 disruption has helped Twilio grow in new areas such as telehealth and online education. Meanwhile, its pandemic-hit dining and ride-sharing markets are starting to improve.

A diversified customer base has helped Twilio during the pandemic. The company is spending more on back-office processes, sales and marketing to target new opportunities.

Twilio - FAQs

What does Twilio do?

Twilio Inc. develops and publishes internet infrastructure solutions. The Company offers cloud computing platform to allow web developers to integrate phone calls, internet protocol voice communications, and text messages into web, mobile, and phone applications.

Who founded Twilio ?

Twilio was founded in 2008 by Jeff Lawson, Evan Cooke, and John Wolthuis.

Who is the CEO of Twilio?

Jeff Lawson is the current CEO of Twilio.

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