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ShoZu Secures $12 Million in Series C Venture Capital Funding


ShoZu Inc., the leading provider of mobile social media services for exchanging content between mobile phones and Web-based social media sites, recently announced the closing of a $12 million Series C round of financing led by new investor SEB Venture Capital, London, the UK-based venture capital arm of Swedish financial services firm Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken. Previous investors Atlas Venture, Crescendo Ventures and TTP Ventures also participated.

The new cash commitment reflects ShoZu’s growing market traction in the highly competitive mobile social media sector. The ShoZu application will ship pre-installed on more than 50 million mobile phones in 2008. In addition, the number of users downloading the ShoZu client to non-preloaded handsets is more than doubling every quarter, with more than 100,000 users currently registering every month.

“ShoZu is the only mobile social media company that has secured global pre-installation agreements with multiple handset manufacturers. That fact alone positions the firm for substantial growth,” said Frank Kelcz, an investment manager with SEB Venture Capital’s London office who has joined ShoZu’s board of directors. “Demand for Mobile-to-Web enabling technology is being driven by a variety of factors, including the need to stay connected with online social media like Flickr and Facebook on the go, and ShoZu has the opportunity as well as the initial market presence to dominate the space.”

“The industry is still grappling with solving the usability problems of the mobile Web, from navigation to dropped connections,” said ShoZu CEO Mark Bole. “ShoZu is addressing many of these challenges with its approach to simplifying the user experience, exchanging content in the background, and providing an open gateway that offers a shortcut to key destinations. Strategies like these may be the answer to mobilizing social media in the short term and also help define the shape of the mobile Internet moving forward.”

Over the past year, ShoZu logged a series of successes in establishing its service as the industry standard in mobile social media connectivity. Achievements in 2007 included securing global pre-installation agreements with Motorola and Samsung, creating the first unlimited-use ShoZu access package through a carrier partnership, expanding its Web 2.0 partner ecosystem to a market-leading 30 sites, and introducing the market’s first two-way multimedia social media capability with a service that will send friends’ latest Flickr photos directly to the handset on request.

These developments coincide with growing consumer demand for mobile connectivity to social networks and other online communities. A recent Juniper Research report predicted that the number of users accessing social networking sites by mobile will skyrocket from 14 million in 2007 to nearly 600 million by 2012, helping to push mobile operator revenues from user-generated content from $576 million to $5.74 billion.

ShoZu’s Share-It service enables mobile users to maintain contact with their Web-based social networks, personal blogs, photo/video sharing sites and other social media with a few clicks. Users can publish photos and video clips up to 10 minutes in length from their phones to favorite Web 2.0 sites without complex navigation, transmit photos at full or blog-quality resolution, exchange comments with friends, and sign up to receive friends’ photos and other multimedia files on their handsets automatically with no manual intervention. These and other capabilities are unique to ShoZu. The ShoZu application is currently available on 317 handset models with users in over 100 countries.

ShoZu is the leading provider of mobile social media services that connect mobile consumers with their online social networks, personal blogs, photo storage sites and other Web 2.0 properties from the handset. The company’s patented technology provides fast, easy, one-click uploads of photos and video clips from the mobile to the Web, full-resolution photo and video delivery without compression, an emerging suite of services that push content to the phone, the ability to work in the background even if a connection is dropped, and other unique features that simplify and enhance the user experience, plus a mobile advertising service that provides non-intrusive and behaviorally targeted ad delivery. The company was founded in 2000 and has formed partnerships with some of the leading players in the mobile ecosystem, including Motorola and Samsung.

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