A Russian billionaire invests $50 million in an American telecom startup
Main page News, Russia

FreedomPop, often referred to as a "mobile challenger", has received a $50 million investment from an investment company LetterOne managed by the Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman and his partners.

The 5-year old telecommunications startup FreedomPop has been trying to steal customers from the mobile service providers by offering free data plans and phone services, shaking up the mobile industry. By now, FreedomPop has already been operating in the U.S., the U.K. and Spain. The investments coming from LetterOne will be dedicated to boosting the startup's presence in the international markets. According to Reuters, FreedomPop plans to launch its services in 8 new countries of the emerging markets by the end of 2017.

“Our goal is to go global and to get into the top ten leading operators in the next five to ten years,” said Stephen Stokols, FreedomPop's CEO.

FreedomPop was founded in Los Angeles in 2011 and since then has managed to raise around $109 million from several Silicon Valley and European investors as well as Malaysian telecommunications corporation Axiata Group, and now the LetterOne.

Mikhail Fridman, one of the co-owners of the group, has been named the second richest businessman in Russia for 4 years in a row, according to Forbes rating, with a total fortune of $15.3 billion. Fridman created the LetterOne group back in 2013, together with 2 other Russian billionaires German Khan and Aleksey Kuzmichev, with the aim to invest into foreign assets. Apart from LetterOne, Fridman, Khan and Kuzmichev share the control of Alfa Group, Russian largest financial and industrial group.

Earlier this year, LetterOne made a $200 million investment in Uber through their sub-company L1 Technology that is dedicated to investments in the technological sector. According to Financial Times, FreedomPop is the second major investment project for the company this year.

This June, the investment company has also opened another subdivision, L1 Health, that plans to invest over $2 billion into the healthcare sector in the next 3 years.

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