Los Angeles Business Journal

Burner Looks to Expand Disposable Number Business

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, September 30, 2013

Burner started as an app for quickly creating and giving out a disposable phone number, but has since turned into a tool for managing temporary numbers for more permanent reasons.

Take, for instance, a teacher who wants to communicate with students without giving out a personal number.

Burner's founders, Greg Cohn and Will Carter, have noticed that the way people are using Burner is evolving, and they recently raised $2 million to expand the app

"We have a much bigger vision than just the current product," said Cohn, chief executive of Burner developer Ad Hoc Labs. "This is the first step for a much broader world view around privacy and managing communications intelligently."

Burner is a free app that charges to connect customers with temporary phone numbers. The basic plan costs about $3 for access to a number for calls and texts that expires - or gets "burned" - after 30 days. Those who want numbers for additional time can pay to receive credits for extended use.

Last week Burner unveiled a redesigned app that focuses on allowing customers to manage more than one number. Among the other updated features is deeper integration with a user's address book.

Cohn said the Silver Lake company plans to continue to add features for Burner as it expands on customers' interest in establishing multiple lines of communication for different parts of their lives.

"It turns out, it's more important to know that you can burn a number than actually burning a number," he said. "The way the product is designed, the numbers are renewable and we are looking at longer-term numbers as well."

The recent funding round, led by Boston firms Founder Collective and Venrock, will help Ad Hoc Labs continue to expand the app. L.A. fund TenOneTen Ventures also participated in the round along with existing investors.

The company, which has less than 10 employees, has raised a total of $2.5 million, but has also generated revenue from its customers since its inception.