After we published the story about better options than the lame Verizon YouTube Lite deal, we received a half dozen complaints from mobile startups that weren’t included — that’s how crowded this market is getting. One startup that we didn’t include, but actually has a pretty slick application, is Juice Wireless. We met with the Chairman and CCO of Juice, Nick Desai, earlier this week, and he said that the company is closing a round of funding for $3.5 million next week.
The latest round includes mostly new investors, as well as existing investors like 21 Ventures and brings Juice’s total funds to $9 million (as soon as this latest round is closed). The funds will help Juice Wireless bring in more users of its mobile video and photo sharing application called Juice Caster.
We’ve been playing with Juice Caster and it’s surprisingly easy to use, though for the best experience you still have to download the application onto a video-enabled phone. (Check it out and tell us your thoughts). The startup is also doing deals with companies like AOL and FHM, to co-brand Juice’s web-based widget, which is a good idea.
The hardest thing for these mobile video and photo sharing sites will be to get enough traction (especially with a downloadable application) in the carrier-controlled mobile space. With so many companies doing similar things, it just gets that much harder. Juice has one of the better designed services out there, but as an indicator of how crowded this market is, check out the eBay fate of Mojungle.