Cloud communications company Twilio has raised a $17 million Series C round of funding from returning investors Bessemer Venture Partners and Union Square Ventures.

The company provides a cloud-based infrastructure web service that breaks down this complex field into “building blocks” that developers can use to integrate phone calls, text messages, and IP voice communications into their web, mobile and traditional phone applications. No contracts or upfront fees are required.

It’s an approach that Jeff Lawson, chief executive officer and co-founder of Twilio, has characterized as, “drawing an owl” – shorthand for the company’s philosophy that simplifying the first steps of a complicated challenge encourages people to take it from there and frees their creativity.

“At Twilio, we’re opening the black box of telecom to developers and companies that can now innovate in this previously esoteric field,” Lawson said. “With this new round of funding, we look forward to expanding that mission.”

Headquartered in San Francisco, Twilio opened a London office and began United Kingdom operations in October, the first step of an expansion plan that includes 20 countries in Europe and Scandinavia. Its customer base has quadrupled its customer base to nearly 75,000 developers, and it has added SMS Short Codes, Twilio Client and Twilio Connect to its product line.

“There are very few opportunities to create new platform companies,” said Albert Wenger, a partner at Union Square Ventures. “Twilio has figured out how to make communication networks accessible to all developers, unlocking many new use cases. With this financing they are really well positioned to grow as a new cloud communications platform.”

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Bessemer Venture Partners –

Union Square Ventures –

Image courtesy of Twilio