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Summary:

Updated with official numbers here.
Exclusive: Upoc, one of the original mobile messaging community services, and among the most hyped names…

Updated with official numbers here.
Exclusive
: Upoc, one of the original mobile messaging community services, and among the most hyped names during the Silicon Alley heyday, is being sold to Italian/European mobile content firm Dada Mobile, MocoNews.net has learned. The amount: well, it doesn’t look pretty: about $7 million. From what I understand, other Italian/European firms were also interested, and even though they would have liked to sell to a U.S. company at a higher price, this is what they were getting.
Upoc has raised a total of $26.3 million since its inception: raised a $5 million third round from Apax and Advent International in 2004. In 2001, it raised a big $18 million second round, also from Apax and Advent, along with Tribune Ventures, 550 Digital Media Ventures, a Sony Group company, Allen & Company and Arts Alliance. The last two, Allen and Arts, were the first round investors, in which it raised $3.3 million.
Meanwhile, Dada, a public company trading on the Italian exchange, has been looking to expand aggressively into U.S. and has a U.S. off deck portal as well. This should help Dada develop more community audience and get into mobile marketing. Upoc, which started as an SMS community service in NYC in 1999, has gone through ups and down, management changes, and the vagaries of the wireless market in general. It expanded into mobile marketing solutions, something which Dada probably will use extensively.
Looks like the invasion of the Italians into the mobile content sector, following the failed attempt from the Japanese in the last couple of years. Earlier this week, Buongiorno USA, the US subsidiary of the Italian/European mobile content player Buongiorno SpA Group, bought out Los Gatos, CA-based mobile content firm Rocket Mobile, for about $17 million plus another $10 million in earnout. Another mobile content company, Acotel Group, owns Flycell in U.S., and I would not be surprised to see them buying some companies.
Related: For some background on the company, read this 2001 BW story: Star-Spotting Goes Wireless
Disclaimer: Alan Patricof, an investor in our company through his new fund Greycroft Partners, sits on Upoc’s board through a prior investment by Apax Partners.

  1. Jo Ann Keeney Wednesday, July 25, 2007

    I have had unauthorized debits from my bank account from this company since July 06. I do not know how they got my cell number. Then they say there have been several downloads on it this past month.

    They only reimbursed me 4 months out of 12. This is a bad company. I put a freeze on my checking account and that is how I found out.

    When I emailed customer service I got a man that said he had no supervisors and that three months is the most they reimburse. I said I wanted at least six giving the benifit of the doubt and settled on 4.

    He said this past month of July 07 there were several downloads. I have never heard of this service before. Someone obviously got my number and did this.

    Bad business tactics.

    Jo Ann Keeney

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