Mozes, the Palo Alto company that lets you text-message music bands for information like concert details, venue changes and promotions, had raised $5 million in a first round of venture capital funding.
Mozes’ mission is straightforward, but difficult to carry out. It wants becomes the one place you send messages to for information about your favorite band. All you do is send a message to M-o-z-e-s (or 66937 on your mobile dialpad), and then type in the name of the band in message (careful, sometimes the band will have initials). Mozes’ service then lets the band respond with its own message. It is popular at concerts.
Mozes’ Dorrian Porter says he’s signed up 500 bands and 15 labels, up from 25 bands and two labels last year when we talked with him. He says the model makes sense because bands need to cut through the noise created by the scores of other emerging mobile marketing methods.
For bands, the service is free. Eventually, Mozes wants to expand its services to businesses beyond music. For companies that want to use the Mozes service for profit, Mozes will charge (Wal-Mart would pay, for example, for use of the word “Wal-Mart” in the initial sign-up message). Mozes may also seek to make money from album or ringtone sales.
The funding comes from Norwest Venture Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners. We wrote about Mozes last year, when they first raised angel funding.
Noise there is. A number of mobile marketing players are doing similar things. There’s TextMarks, of San Francisco, which does something very similar, using its own “code 41411.” It lets bloggers communicate with their readers. It also lets them update their blogs while on the road. However it doesn’t focus on bands. Other mobile texting marketing companies include Waterfall Mobile, also of San Francisco, and Qtags, of Houston, Tex. One big player in the mobile entertainment marketing area that offers text messaging is Motricty, of Durham, NC.
Paul Santinelli, partner at North Bridge said he’s betting on Mozes because of the company’s narrow focus. The music fan demographic correlates strongly with the 15 to 25-year-old crowd, which is the most attractive group for large mobile marketers such as Nike, Reebok and others.
Porter wouldn’t say how many users have messaged with the system. He said the company is getting revenue, but isn’t profitable yet.