CES is a massive show with thousands of people spread out over several hotels and conventions centers, but just to give you an idea of how small the world can be, I bumped into MocoSpace CEO and co-founder Justin Siegel (who was proudly wearing his long-sleeve logo’d t-shirt) this morning in my hotel — even though we had plans for a formal meeting that afternoon. Throwing caution to the wind, we held an impromptu meeting over breakfast instead. Turns out, it was a great way to start my day because in many ways it was one of the bright economic spots of the show…Siegel said they’ve been able to raise money, grow advertising revenues and increase its subscriber base and has plans for keeping things going in 2009.
– Mobile Advertising: “We had a terrific Q4 from a user and ad dollars perspective. There’s a lot of negativity out there and we haven’t seen any of it at all. Typically between Q4 and Q1 wee see a drop in ad dollars, but the drop off has been less steep this year than in previous years…As the dollars move from online to mobile, it’s mitigating the downturn.”
– Funding: In Sept., he said the day Lehman Brothers went under, they were able to secure $2 million in debt funding, adding to the $7 million it had already raised in venture capital. “I started to raise the funding this summer..I thought things might get dicey…Our financing is in good shape, and our burn is low. We have good revenues, and although we are not breakeven, our focus is on growing our product.”
– Demographic: Siegel said that the company’s prime demographic is changing from the urban, hip aesthetic to a broader range of people. He said he met a group of nurses who gather every Friday in the break room to charge their phones and login to MocoSpace to chat with one another and others. “We are not a household name, but we are getting to a point where there’s brand recognition.”
– The numbers: he said they have more than 5 million users, and 2 billion page views (which is staying stagnant as they add more features on a single page); five million mobile greetings were sent by 1 million people over the holidays, including 1 million on Christmas Eve; and 60 percent of users have added music to their profile event though the service is in Beta and only offer tracks from Def Jam and some user-generated content.
– 2009 plans: This year, MocoSpace will focus on tweaking their product so it works better on high-end phones, like an iPhone, however, they expect to stick to a Web strategy, rather than to create applications for the various platforms. The company will also roll-out a short code.