Valhalla Partners, a Vienna, Va.-based venture firm with $440 million under management, announced today that it has hired Saj Cherian, a former executive from Virgin Mobile USA (NYSE: VM) and NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), as Principal to expand its focus on mobile investments. To date, JumpTap, the mobile search and advertising company, is Valhalla’s one mobile investment. I talked with Cherian today to get a sense of what he was looking for in his new role, and how he sees the mobile content industry shaping up. At NBC Universal, he worked on business development and wireless strategy, where he focused on monetizing NBC’s mobile properties through advertising, including banners, SMS, and some in-game advertising and video. At Virgin Mobile, he was director of new data services, where he worked on the prepaid carrier’s mobile advertising strategy, which included launching its Sugar Mama campaign that allows people to watch ads in return for free voice minutes.
Excerpts from the interview:
The state of the mobile-content and advertising industry: “Consumers are tapped out on how much they are willing to spend in mobile, and then there are a lot of unlimited options that are capping their spend. The consumer wallet is tapped out, so you really have to dig into someone else