Updated (with more info about angel deal terms)
SVB Technologies, of San Francisco, is developing of a software platform used to bring email, news and RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds to low-end mobile phones, according to VentureWire (sub required).
It has raised an initial seed round of funding; we don’t know exactly how much. It launched its product, Flurrymail, last week. Founder Sean Byrnes described Flurrymail “as a java application that can speed the download of e-mails and news feeds to mobile phones, by not forcing users to click into a phone’s Web browser.”
The funding, interestingly, was in the form of “convertible notes.” We’re increasingly seeing this form of seed round (Update: Ooops, we should have checked this. Scott Rafer, below, says this has been common for years. He’s probably right. Maybe we’re only hearing about it more, as we talk with all these Web 2.0 companies. Update II: See comments for elaboration on angel deal terms). Basically, convertible notes are glorified loans. It is when the…
…early investors give you money, but not in exchange for a set percentage ownership of your company. Rather, these “convertible” investors only get equity in the company later, once the first VC round is raised — at that later valuation. Entrepreneurs like it, because they assume the company’s valuation will increase, once their company has some traction. That means these early investors will get a smaller portion of the overall company, because their initial investment represents a smaller amount of the bigger valuation number. Some investors don’t like it, but it is a price they must pay to get into deals.
Unlike Google’s mobile Gmail, Flurrymail does not depend on WAP technology, which Byrnes told VentureWire he thinks will make the process easier for users.
So perhaps the email offering will be enough to help the company out of sole reliance on RSS for its business model — which, as we mentioned in our Merc piece yesterday, Michael Arrington thinks is quite bubbly right now.