What is your background?
20+ years at large UK and US software companies in senior roles, particularly in sales and marketing. For 7 years I've been an active Angel investor, based out of Australia, in both the mobile and social networking space: Blue Sky Frog, Australia's first multi-million user mobile property, and KidSpot.com.au, Australia's #1 parenting and social networking site.
Tell us more about Messmo
A couple of colleagues and I made an investment in some interesting technology for mobile. The easiest way to think of it is SMS Version 2; if you have mobile Internet, SMS should be free.
Messmo did an 8 month beta test, in the consumer market and picked up over half a million users. We also started a dialogue with one very large global personals player based out of Australia, and we realized there were some significant opportunities in the personals space. We created Messmo Media to help personals sites extend their experience to mobile in a very simple, elegant way.
What functionalities have you built into Messmo so far?
It's very much like SMS. It's highly interactive; messages can contain pictures and all things you would expect if you were using an Internet backbone.
Messmo has built a very closed environment. Using Messmo with personals, members can't see each other except when they come through the personals site. It's a no-spam environment, no external advertising.
How can you help Internet dating companies make more money?
In three ways. Firstly Messmo has patented technology that can trigger a mobile transaction which means the user gets billed on their mobile bill. This opens the door to tempt all those non paying members, when they receive a new message, to make a quick impulse transaction, such as a day pass, via a single click. Secondly increased interaction - most members spend 20 or more hours away from a PC each day, but usually their mobile is with them night and day. Delivering messages and replies at zero cost, increases interaction and the likelihood of the member quickly returning to the site. Thirdly Messmo has very sophisticated viral and recommendation technologies (all you friends are in your contact list on your mobile) that were proven in the test period. These have enormous potential to help drive down the cost of new member acquisition for sites.
Who would you say in reality are the end users in mobile dating in your experience?
Mobile dating can mean two different things. To a mobile operator, any on-deck solution that makes them money is mobile dating. But to an existing site owner, with their own membership, mobile dating should simply mean extending their existing communication to their member's mobiles, when the member is not at a PC. We think the second definition is what mobile dating is about.
What countries do you serve?
Messmo is global; in any country that supports mobile data you could reach a Messmo user. This is significant because let's imagine that there was a personals site we'll call "Cupid Make Friends". If they were visible on Messmo, a user anywhere in the world could, when running Messmo, see Cupid Make Friends straightaway. Their interaction with the site would be identical, whether they were in the UK, Italy, Thailand or Australia.
How would you differentiate the Messmo offerings from a company like Trilibis?
The most popular experience in the world on mobile is of course SMS. We replicate that experience and add extras like much richer messages, but the interface and integration is very very simple. think days, not weeks or months compared to alternative approaches.