Startup du jour: Mixxer


STARTUP: Mixxer, based in Seattle, WA

ELEVATOR PITCH: Mixxer is trying to convince its four million users that it is more than just a ringtones site and is remaking itself as a mobile content sharing community.

WHAT THEY DO: In a former life the company was called 3GUpload and found some success selling ringtones and mobile content directly to consumers by offering online storage, which they call a locker. Now the company is remaking itself with an emphasis on user-generated, shared content, using a social network. But, hey, isn’t everybody?

PEOPLE: CEO John Dearborn, formerly at American Greetings Interactive, and CTO Michael Cockrill, formerly at Qpass.

FUNDING: $20 million, VantagePoint Venture Partners.

CUSTOMERS: They say they have 4 million young users.

COMPETITORS: Both online and mobile social networks, as well as ringtone sellers.

THE DEAL: The former ringtone seller wants to reinvent the company as a community for mobile content. To do this Mixxer raised money — a lot of money for a mobile content company — from VantagePoint, which was one of MySpace’s funders. Mixxer executives are very fond of mentioning that its funder was also MySpace’s. The problem is that a fickle ringtone-buying audience might not be willing to wait around through such significant changes.


The Guru

I used to work for Mixxer both the new and old names.

I will say this much. When I worked for them all the music was legit. They spent countless hours with the record labels and the copyright owners of the ringtones they sold to make sure that they had the proper licensing and aggreements for reselling the content. They worked closely with record labels to achieve this. It was like they ripped music from somewhere and just sold it. They recieved the music straight from the record labels.

Also there is a differnce between music tones and polyphonic tones. They cost different and have different regulations.


I second Ted Avery’s comments. I think the only winners here are the founders of 3GUpload who cleverly managed to trick VantagePoint (that got in on the original round of funding for MySpace, but by no means made great on that deal or should be credited with any foresight) to throw in $20M, some of which has already been paid out to the founders.

Also, don’t forget who faciliated this whole deal (and managed to crush a relatively decent Vancouver company in the process): Seattle’s own William Bryant!

Ted Avery

RE: John Lynch

I assume you are an employee. So that’s not how it works eh? Are you saying members cannot upload “thier” mp3’s to make tones?

I am quite familiar with your current biz model and your past borderline illegal activity.

John Ambler

Mixxer’s got some stiff competition — Shozu, AirG, Newbay, and others. In terms of cross-platform functionality, I think the king of the space, such as it is, is JuiceCaster. New version has a widget-like functionality that plugs into MySpace and other social networking sites. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

John Lynch

Perhaps you haven’t used mixxer becasue that’s not how the service works. You should check it out becasue it’s pretty cool.

Ted Avery

I’m suprised that no one remembers what their former business model was… was basically a ringtone theft site. Much like the russian MP3 site that the RIAA can’t shut down. They charged members a small fee for all you can eat ringtones. Before that they were completely free.

Technically they are still flirting the ilegalities of the business by allowing users to upload thier own MP3’s to create ringtones. Everyone knows most MP3’s are stolen… so I guess Mixxer figures “why not aid and abet some more music theft.”

How anyone could trust them enough to give them money now is insane.

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