Tapioca to deliver video, audio over SMS

Tapioca Mobile, a San Diego company that lets publishers deliver video, images and audio through SMS messages on a cell-phone, has raised seed funding from Silicon Valley venture firm Venrock.

The company was founded this year by former employees of wireless companies Qualcomm, Nokia, and Openwave.

Venrock’s David Siminoff and Neeraj Choubey joined the board.

In a statement, Siminoff said the rise of mobile messaging is “astounding” and rivals the adoption of the Internet a decade ago. Tapioca Mobile gives media companies and advertisers the ability to deliver video and other “rich media” formats, such as images and audio, to cellphone users via the fast-growing Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) protocol available on most mobile devices. MMS enables multimedia files to be attached to text-based SMS messages. MMS does have its challenges (scroll down).

Siminoff was a founding investor in 4Info, a Silicon Valley company that specializes in SMS-based search. Choubey worked earlier at Yahoo’s mobile division and began his professional career in the CDMA infrastructure division at Motorola.