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Cloudy tech start-up Twilio jumps the pond

US telephony API firm targets Europe from new UK office

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Cloud communications company Twilio launched its European expansion today with the release of its telephonic API to the UK and in beta for France, Portugal, Poland, Austria and Denmark.

The three-year-old firm, which allows software developers to build applications that make calls and send texts, will headquarter its European business at a new office in East London.

Twilio claims to have 60,000 developers in the US building apps from its API that have reached into half of all American households over the phone.

Using Twilio, software developers are able to build applications in the cloud such as call centres, interactive voice response (IVR) systems, group texting and conference calling to name a few.

A quick demo at the launch by CEO Jeff Lawson had him program a simple conference call – where all members dial in, are greeted with a recording telling them they're in the conference and can then chat to each other – in about three minutes using the Twilio platform.

According to Lawson, the platform, which uses Amazon Web Services for its cloud hosting, is 100 times larger than it was at the start of this year and counts tech firms like Hulu, eBay and Salesforce among its customers.

Hosting on Amazon means any app developed is easily scalable and Twilio's business model is pay as you go, which makes the platform simple and easy to use, said Lawson, who's an ex-Amazonian himself.

"We have use cases where companies are building solutions to their own problems, like Hulu or Intuit, and we have independent software vendors building apps on Twilio and selling them on," Lawson told The Register.

He refused to be drawn into any specific targets for the company's European launch but said he saw "as much if not more opportunity in Europe as in the US".

In the three years since its launch, Twilio has successfully gone looking for venture capital three times, getting a total of $16m from a mix of folks, including some who've also invested in tech firms like Twitter, Zynga and Etsy.

And that funding should be enough for now, since Lawson isn't considering lining Twilio up to be the next tech firm to consider an IPO, following companies like Groupon and Zynga onto the public markets, saying he was concentrating on growing the business for now. ®

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