Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the past few years, you may have noticed that young folk enjoy spending time on their computers or phones chatting, emailing, downloading music, posting pictures and blogging.
Until now, they’ve faced one irritating obstacle: they can’t, generally, coordinate their various devices so that they can, say, post pictures to their blog via their mobile/ cameraphone. Instant integrated communication, off all devices, is the holy grail.
Enter ShoZu, the British start-up whose software may just make such mobile-social network linkage a reality. Today the London-based firm, which started in 2001, agreed a third-round funding deal with SEB Venture Capital that will put a further $12m into the company’s coffers. The company’s existing backers Atlas Venture, Crescendo Ventures and TTP Ventures also participated in the financing.
Mark Bole, ShoZu’s CEO, points out that global mobile penetration is now at 50 per cent – that’s around 3.3 billion subscribers – just 26 years after the first cellular network was launched. By securing pre-installation agreements with handset manufacturers, ShoZu plans to be central to the next great phase of mobile phone usage.
The business is a classic modern technology tale: early-stage business with significant venture backing; already expanding globally, with offices in London, San Francisco, France, Spain and Italy; and tapping into the exploding phenomenon of "mass publishing". Bole previously held senior roles in Nokia and mobile solutions provider Incomit.
It all sounds very Jack Bauer but, listening to Frank Kelcz of SEB, ShoZu could really be on to something: “Demand for mobile-to-web-enabling technology is being driven by a variety of factors, including the need to stay connected with online media like Flickr and Facebook on the go, and ShoZu has the opportunity as well as the initial market presence to dominate the space.”
ShoZu is definitely one to watch.