Omidyar Network and IGNIA Lead $13.75 Million Series B Round in Finestrella

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Sept. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Omidyar Network and IGNIA announced today they are leading a $13.75 million Series B round of financing in Finestrella, a provider of innovative mobile telephony services to low-income and unbanked populations in Mexico. Finestrella will use the funding to rapidly expand the availability of its current offerings while developing new products and services, including smart phones and data plans that address the needs of its customers.

The Series B funding marks a renewed commitment from existing investor IGNIA, which led Finestrella’s Series A funding. The round also includes existing funders Bay Partners and Storm Ventures. Amy Klement, Vice President of Investments at Omidyar Network, will join IGNIA on Finestrella’s board of directors.

“There is strong evidence that expanding access to telecommunications can have massive social and economic benefits. Finestrella has developed a truly innovative model to do exactly that-enable greater access at significantly lower prices for the consumer,” said Klement. “Given the enormous customer need and the company’s strong value proposition, the model has the potential to quickly extend to many new geographies.”

Mobile telephony is a massive market in Mexico and Latin America, where the majority of people are forced to use costly prepaid services that require a substantial initial handset investment. Finestrella enables unbanked consumers to acquire affordable postpaid mobile plans without upfront costs or the requirement of a credit card or bank account. The company’s plans, offered in 10 cities across Mexico, reach over 40% of the country’s population. By providing a simple and affordable solution, Finestrella unlocks the full power of mobile communications for the base of the pyramid.

“What is truly compelling about Finestrella is its ability to serve a customer segment that is generally excluded from mainstream financial services,” said Alvaro Rodriguez, Managing Partner of IGNIA. “Finestrella provides an affordable means for low-income populations to access mobile offerings as well as establish a recorded payment history that itself can unlock additional opportunities.”

“Finestrella’s early growth is a clear demonstration of the need for affordable, high-quality telecommunication services,” said Gabriel Manjarrez, Co-Founder and CEO of Finestrella. “We are proud to add Omidyar Network to a group of investors that can provide the capital and expertise we need to scale and promote a truly disruptive offering that meets critical voice and Internet communications gaps in Mexico and beyond.”

Source: PR Newswire (link opens in a new window)