Here’s another startup in a run down of startups that I saw at the Nordic Venture Forum couple of week ago in the beautiful city of Copenhagen, Denmark. All the startups present at the forum were seeking either financing from the investors or partners for their business.
Mobispine, a Swedish startup founded in in 2005, delivers mobile Internet and messaging services.
The company provides services for operators and end-users. The services include eSMS (Executive Short Message System) service enabling users to send messages from PCs to mobile phones and aggregation of news and content via Really Simple Syndication (RSS) based news reader.
Windows desktop widget
eSMS Desktop aims to make it easy to compose SMS or MMS using one of a variety of Windows applications. In order to bring all your communications into one programme, eSMS Desktop can be integrated into Outlook Express. It can also be used through a toolbar plug-in in Internet Explorer.
It can be integrated with the Windows Address Book. It also remembers telephone numbers you’ve used before and enables drag and drop of both text and phone numbers. In effect, eSMS Desktop makes it so easy to send multimedia files or text. You can put multimedia content or text into your message by right-clicking in Windows Explorer or Internet Explorer, or simply by dragging and dropping which is rather handy and quick way to share small snippets of information.
Here’s a short demo showing Mobispine in action by sending an SMS from you browser.
Mobile News Reader
On the face of it there is nothing that amazing about the Mobile News Reader, but as Mobispine’s CEO, Dusyant Patel, says “The key differentiator is not the technology, but the data base of good content’. There are now more than 300,000 RSS-feeds accessible and Youtube videos can be watched if they are embedded into blogs and RSS-feeds. There are also several languages supported. The java client is now available in English, Spanish, Portugese, Russian and in Indonesian. The News Reader seems to be available also for the iphone.
Mobispine has also been very active in M&A space. They have acquired three companies within the last few months. The companies are 1) NewsAlloy – a technology for web-based RSS-readers, 2) General Wireless, a leading provider of software applications for desktop messaging. Since more than 20 mobile operators use General Wireless technology already Mobispine were able to buy their way into a new customer base. 3) MyScoop, that builds services for creating communities around photos/videos and storage of media, which seems to be the next are that Mobispine is looking into expanding.
Business Model and Go-To-Market Strategy
Mobispine’s business model is two fold: Mobile Internet (B2C) works on advertising and licensing deals, whereas messaging services (B2B) are licensed to operators of which there are already quite a few.
The company’s Go-To-Market has many facets. They aim to go viral with Facebook, Twitter, Del.icio.us and the likes, whereas they also work with affliates (operators, content providers and webisites) as well as handset manufacturers themselves such as SonyEricsson and Nokia. Marketing is done via Admob, Buzzcity and Getjar.
Mobispine’s founder, Joakim Hilj, ended his latest news letter in a bullish estimate. He believes that the company has not even reached 10 percent of the company’s potential even though they have already more than half a million active users and tens of close to 30K downloads a day. That’s a brave statement when the economy is expected to take an ever deeper dip during this winter.
Mobispine has so far raised two rounds of financing. The first to the amount of 450K EUR (580K USD) and the second to the amount of 1300K EUR (1700K USD). The first round of financing was raised from Swedish business angels whereas the second round was already raised from the general public when the company got listed on the stock market in 2006. Here’s a further run down on the company key figures from the FT.com: Based on the FT data Mobispine has revenues total totaling to 5.3m SEK (530K EUR or 680K USD) and net income to -7.55m SEK (-750K EUR or -970K USD) and a market cap of 30.24m SEK (3m EUR or 3.9m USD) . The company is aiming to break even by the end of 2008.
Mobispine’s corporate headquarter is in Stockholm, Sweden with development offices in Cluj, Romania and Kiev, Ukraine. Currently the company employs 25 people.