OwnFone secures £786,000 to ramp up development of credit card-sized mobile phones

Deal marks Angel CoFund’s 50th investment to date with portfolio of fast-growth start-ups such as Gousto and YPlan

Personalised mobile phone start-up OwnFone has raised £786,000 in a round led by former Nokia Mobile board member Nigel Litchfield, London Business Angels, Renaissance Capital Partners and the Angel CoFund; the 50th investment for the government-backed angel syndicate.

Founded in December 2013, OwnFone is a mini mobile phone; the size of a credit card, which is personalised to the owner and is designed for children, seniors, or as an emergency second phone given its year standby battery life.

Created using in house 3D printers, the phones (pictured above) are available from £40 on an airtime contract and are made to order with calls restricted to the numbers on the handset buttons.

Having secured partnerships with the likes of Age UK, the Stroke Association and Mumsnet, the phone specialist now plans to increase product development with the help of new company board member Litchfield.

Litchfield commented: “We all acknowledge the near-global ubiquity of the smartphone, but this doesn’t mean such technology is the right product for everyone, all the time. In fact there are plenty of occasions when a smartphone – expensive, energy consuming and complicated – is an unnecessary hassle.

“The team at OwnFone have recognised this and I really look forward to working closely with them as we further develop this product and boost marketing efforts over the next 12 months.”

The deal also sees co-investors Angel CoFund reach a milestone of 50 investments and takes it total funding in UK businesses, including Gousto, YPlan and CrowdVision, to £22m, since its launch in November 2011.

Discussing its success to date, Angel CoFund investment director, Tim Mills, said:

“When launching in 2011 the aim of the Angel CoFund was to back promising British businesses and to support the UK’s angel investor community. OwnFone is the perfect example of businesses we look to back: innovative, ambitious and seeking to deliver something of real value to its customers.”

 

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