L1 invests $50 million in FreedomPop

By:
James Pearce
Published on:

Committee for Foreign Investment in the US approves funding deal from Russia's second richest man Mikhail Fridman

MVNO FreedomPop has received a $50 million investment from Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman’s investment fund LetterOne (L1) as it looks to launch across an additional eight markets by the end of next year.

The provider, which buys capacity wholesale from carriers and offers free contracts to customers who sign up to its service, launched in 2012. 

The investment was first reported in January, but Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has now rubber-stamped the partnership.

FreedomPop expanded its business from the US to the UK (on Three UK’s network) last year, and in Spain in April. It said it will use the funds to open up services in markets across Asia, Europe and Latin America.

It has more than 100,000 subscribers in the UK, according to CEO Stephen Stokols.

“This partnership illustrates the value and impact that L1 can have, particularly versus traditional private equity and later stage venture capital investors,” Stokols added. 

“L1 is not only capable of bringing significant capital, but also delivering valuable and accretive strategic partnerships for digital pioneer companies around the world. L1’s expertise will be used to accelerate our international expansion.”

L1 Technology has set out plans to invest around $3 billion in mid-to-late stage technology growth opportunities, and recently announced a $200 million investment in disruptive taxi firm Uber. It also has investments in several other telecoms firms, including the likes of Turkcell and VimpelCom

Commenting on the investment Alexey Reznikovich (pictured), L1 Technology’s Managing Partner, said: “FreedomPop are true digital pioneers. It is disrupting the businesses of traditional mobile carriers by giving people ways to use mobile devices free of any call charges. As the telecoms market consolidates, and technologies advance, it’s important to remain ahead of the curve in terms of new customer propositions.”