Lunar Aims to Offer Budget Phone Service, Premium User Experience

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potential customers, Lunar tested its system across Michigan through pilot projects. Before the company signed deals with various wireless carriers, Rosenblume says he and Varanasi had to buy hundreds of phones from these friendly local stores and hack them with Lunar’s technology before selling them.

Rosenblume says Lunar has no direct competitors and feels its product is “totally unique to the marketplace.” He says Freedompop, a company out of Los Angeles, comes the closest, but most of its plans still require a monthly fee.

If you think Lunar sounds like a bit of a moonshot, consider its backers. In 2016, the company was awarded a $100,000 fellowship by investor Peter Thiel’s foundation, which pays innovative young people to drop out of college and work on their entrepreneurial projects. Earlier this year, Lunar raised a $4.1 million seed round led by the Bay Area’s 8VC. Other investors include Betaworks, Blu Products, Fontinalis Partners, 1517 Fund, WNDRCO, Detroit Venture Partners, Core Innovation Capital, Abstract Ventures, Expansion VC, Social Starts, and a few angel investors.

Rosenblume seems especially excited about Lunar’s relationship with Betaworks. Peter Rojas, one of the firm’s partners, was a founder of Engadget and Gizmodo—publications that Rosenblume read breathlessly in his younger years. In a quote included in Lunar’s press release, Rojas said the company is one of the “most exciting” he’s ever come across, and his firm’s investment in Lunar is one of its largest to date.

“It’s so cool to be able to work with my heroes,” Rosenblume says.

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Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the Custom Content Editor for Xconomy Insight. You can reach her at sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @Xconomy

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