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Off-the-Grid Messaging App Maker Open Garden Raises $10.8 Million From August Capital, Others

The FireChat app allows messaging from phones even when a cellphone network is compromised or nonexistent.

Open Garden, maker of the off-the-grid messaging app FireChat, disclosed on Thursday that it has raised $10.8 million in a Series A investment round led by August Capital.

The round was closed back in March, but the company said it waited to announce it for competitive reasons. FireChat’s ability to work where cellular networks are sparse, nonexistent or compromised has led it to be popular for political organizing, including the recent demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Other investors in Open Garden’s latest funding included Firebolt Ventures, Future Perfect Ventures, Kima Ventures, Tseung Kwan Ventures and Sherpalo. The company also raised $2 million in a July 2012 seed round.

“The writing is on the wall. Peer-to-peer networking is the future of the mobile Internet,” FireChat CEO Micha Benoliel said in a statement. “FireChat’s popularity is an early indicator of an impending massive disruption. People and communities around the world now understand that their phone and a free app is all they need to create ‘their own Internet,’ independently of existing infrastructures and powers.”

Here is Benoliel, speaking at our Code/Mobile Conference in October.

This article originally appeared on

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