Envio featured in MassHighTech.com: “EnvIO Sees Green in Verizon“September 26, 2008
By Efrain Viscarolasaga
After a $10 million second round of funding last spring, mobile social marketing startup envIO networks Inc. has now landed its first carrier customer in Verizon Wireless.
EnvIO’s application, which aims to build social marketplaces for mobile content such as ringtones and ringback tones, went live on Verizon’s platform last week and included access to the application through Verizon’s Facebook page.
According to envIO founder and CEO Prakash Iyer, Verizon is just the beginning. And while he declined to name names, he said the company is working with a number of Tier 1 carriers, both in the U.S. and worldwide. Executives expect to make additional announcements this year.
EnvIO’s platform is based on the premise that “content is king” in the mobile network, but getting that content to interested consumers is a challenge. Using social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and Friendster as presentation layers, envIO’s platform puts content in the hands of consumers within those networks, allowing for rating, sharing and — envIO and carrier customers hope — buying.
“Content is a currency among users — it’s what they share and talk about around the water cooler,” said Iyer, a former executive at Tewksbury’s Winphoria Networks Inc., and later at Motorola Inc., which acquired Winphoria for $172 million in 2003.
The Verizon application deals with one aspect of content at the moment, namely ringback tones, or the snippets of songs people hear when they call a number. The product is called “Ringback Buddies” and allows users to view the music their friends like and acquire those tones or even assign them to other friends in their network.
According to Framingham-based research firm IDC, global wireless services revenue will breach more than $800 billion by 2011.
Since its inception in 2006, envIO has raised $17 million in private funding from local venture capital firms Matrix Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners, both based in Waltham.