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Rebtel logo.jpg
Operating systemAndroid, iOS, Windows Phone, Microsoft Windows
Available inEnglish, French, Spanish, Arabic
TypeFintech, banking, international calling

Rebtel is a Swedish tech company founded in 2006 by Hjalmar Winbladh and Jonas Lindroth. With its roots in international calling, today its a tech company aiming to develop and sell products and services to migrants and international nomads. Its services include international calling, messaging and mobile money delivered in apps for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone.

In 2015 the company had a new management take over, launching a new strategy with more product verticals like banking, remittance and independent work for migrants and international nomads.[1]

As of August 2018, the company has 95 employees representing some 42 nationalities making it one of Stockholms most diverse tech companies and offers its product in 250+ countries worldwide.[2] Its revenue was US$ 95mn in 2017[2]

Owners and management team[edit]


Rebtel's principal owners are European London-based venture capital funds Balderton Capital and Index Ventures.[3]

Management team

  • Magnus Larsson - Chief Executive Officer
  • Johan Granlund - Chief Financial Officer
  • Johan Dahlqvist - Chief Technology Officer
  • Jonathan Frisk - Chief Marketing Officer
  • Philip Mikal - Chief Product Officer
  • Cecilia Englén - Chief Community Officer

Products and services[edit]


Rebtel allows its users to make low-cost or free[4] international calls using its smartphone apps or landlines. Rebtel works on any phone without installing software or an internet connection. Combining traditional telecommunications technology as used in PSTN land line phone calls with modern VoIP-technology and app to app communication, Rebtel allows users to call technology agnostic to any phone in the world at a low rate but with carrier level call quality.

Mobile top up money transfer[edit]

Rebtels tech platform supports money transfer in the way of MTU - mobile top up - where users can transfer credit to friends and families mobile phone subscription as a way of transferring money common in unbanked parts of the world like Africa, Central and Latin America. CEO Magnus Larsson said to Swedish business press in 2018 that 8 percent of Americans are unbanked and that banking services will be a natural next step. During the beginning of 2018 the company added more ways of sending money with the launch of Nauta for the Cuban community.

Activist program (Rebtel Activista)[edit]

Rebtel’s Activist program was launched in 2016 as a pilot in Miami, Florida, enabling anyone to sign up to become a Rebtel reseller through the independent Activist app. Since the launch, the Activist program has expanded to Houston, Texas. The founding idea was to allow influential people in migrant dense areas to sign up to become resellers and brand ambassadors for Rebtel.[5] The program is inspired by independent work programs like those of Uber, Foodora and Taskrunner and to date over 10 000 people have joined the program, in which an Activist earns US$ 100 weekly on average according to Rebtel.[6]

Beyond borders magazine[edit]

Late 2017, Rebtel launched and published its first edition of "Beyond Borders" - an online magazine and community curating and creating content and journalism by and for the global group of international nomads and migrants.[7]


Rebtel launched an SDK in September 2012, allowing independent developers to integrate voice calling and instant messaging in their apps.[8] The Rebtel SDK currently supports app-to-app communication over data, such as 3G or Wi-Fi and uses the same backend as Rebtel’s own apps. Developers can decide how to handle user management, ringtones, calling screens and other aspects of the user experience.


In December 2013, Rebtel launched Sendly, a new app that lets users top up the prepaid mobile phones of friends and family abroad.[9]


Rebtel’ founder, Hjalmar Winbladh, co-founded and spent 7 years as President and CEO of Sendit AB, taking the firm public before it was acquired by Microsoft for $127.5 million.[10] Rebtel appointed Andreas Bernström, formerly COO of TradeDoubler, as CEO in September 2009. Bernström left the company and was succeeded by current CEO Magnus Larsson in late 2015.[11]

In 2014 a group of former telco executives from Swedish investment company Kinnevik-owned Tele2 approached the company’s owners with a proposal for a shift in strategy.

Following a overhaul of the brand, and a product strategy shift moving to a subscription model and flat-rate pricing, and the launch of an independent work program (Activist), the company did a turnaround to growth and showed a delta growth of 40 % after one year reaching a revenue of mUSD95.[12] CEO Magnus Larsson said to Thompson-Reuters in 2017 that he had no plans to make the company public.


  • May, 2005 Rebtel is registered by Hjalmar Winbladh and Jonas Lindroth.
  • September, 2006 Rebtel raises Series A round of $20 million in external venture capital financing from Index Ventures and Balderton Capital.[13]
  • October, 2009 Rebtel launches its iPhone app after a nine-month approval process with Apple.[14]
  • June, 2010 Rebtel reports a 100% jump in revenue over the previous year, increasing revenue from $8 million to $16 million. The service also logs its one billionth minute in international calls.[15]
  • January, 2011 Rebtel reports 9 million users, revenues of more than $40 million in 2011 and a revenue run-rate projected to hit $75 million by the end of year.[16]
  • November, 2011 Rebtel is awarded the Swedish Innovation Award. Previous winners include music streaming service Spotify.[17]
  • September 2012 Rebtel releases its SDK, allowing developers to integrate voice calling into their apps.[18]
  • December 2012, Rebtel reports revenues of $80 million and 20 million users.[19]
  • December 2013, Rebtel launches Sendly, a new service for transferring prepaid mobile credit internationally. Rebtel reports revenues of $95 million and 23 million users.[9]
  • Jan 2016, Rebtel appoints Magnus Larsson as CEO and communicates goal to become the primary app for international calling, as whatsapp is for texting[20]
  • April 2017, Rebtel says to Thompson-Reuter's it seeks USD 20mn "cash injection for growth"[21]
  • August 2017, Rebtel Activist independent work program fuels rapid US market growth - CEO claims 20% growth target for 2017
  • December 2017, Rebtel launches online magazine aimed at migrants and international nomads worldwide[22]
  • April 2018, Rebtel announces it has closed its financing process, securing close to USD20mn, now aiming to invest msek 130 in developing banking products and/or to acquire a neo bank to speed up the execution of the company's new strategy[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Migranter i USA sätter ny fart på Rebtel". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  2. ^ "Rebtel blir fintechbolag: "Vi tittar på att köpa en neobank"". Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  3. ^ "RebTel Owners AB - Befattningshavare". (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  4. ^ "Call Rates". Retrieved 2014-01-09.
  5. ^ MacBride, Elizabeth. "A Swedish Upstart Takes On WhatsApp, Reaching $95M In Revenue". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  6. ^ "An App to Help Migrants Phone Home". 2017-10-12. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  7. ^ "New 'Beyond Borders' Pub Connects Immigrant Populations". Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  8. ^ "Give your app a voice". Rebtel. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  9. ^ a b Crook, Jordan. "Rebtel Launches Sendly, A Money Transfer App For Topping Up Pre-Paid Phones". Tech Crunch. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  10. ^ "Microsoft Announces Offer To Acquire Sweden's Sendit". The Wall Street Journal. May 13, 1999.
  11. ^ "Rebtel startar om – ska bli ett Whatsapp för internationella samtal". Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  12. ^ "Så lyckades han vända svenska techbolagets fall - genom att ifrågasätta allt". Veckans affärer. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
  13. ^ "Rebtel Snags $20M First Round". Red Herring. September 25, 2006. Archived from the original on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2009.
  14. ^ "Apple Gives Green Light To Mobile VoIP iPhone App From Rebtel" (Press release). Rebtel. October 21, 2009. Archived from the original on December 5, 2009.
  15. ^ "Rebtel Makes International Calling Free With New Android App" (Press release). Rebtel. June 24, 2010.
  16. ^ "Rebtel Aims at Skype With Free International Calling on BlackBerry" (Press release). GigaOm. January 14, 2011.
  17. ^ "The Innovation Award 2011" (Press release). AF Consult. November 28, 2011. Archived from the original on April 21, 2012.
  18. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Rebtel Takes On Twilio, Launches Free VoIP SDK For iOS And Android App Makers". TechCrunch. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  19. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Nipping At The Heels Of Skype, VoIP Provider Rebtel Passes 20M Users, $80M In Sales And A 2-Year Streak In The Black". TechCrunch. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Rebtel startar om – ska bli ett Whatsapp för internationella samtal". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  21. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Swedish telco Rebtel seeks $20 mln cash injection for growth". U.S. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  22. ^ "New 'Beyond Borders' Pub Connects Immigrant Populations". Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  23. ^ "Rebtel blir fintechbolag: "Vi tittar på att köpa en neobank"". Retrieved 2018-04-30.