Blog Post

Can Icahn Help Motricity?

Motricity, the Durham, North Carolina-based mobile content delivery company has a habit of raising more and more capital. The company, that competes with the likes of Qualcomm and VeriSign says it has raised another $50 million in a series H round (yeah, I said H) from investor Carl Icahn, to bring the company’s total to $216 million — that makes it one of the most well-funded mobile startups around.

Icahn does add some cachet to the company with this latest funding, though what Icahn brings to the table (except money) is hard to figure out — if he ever gets a Moto board seat that might come in handy. Motricity says Icahn received “a single digit” percentage ownership for his investment.

The company says it will use the funds to secure new technology, so it sounds like there’ll be more acquisitions this year (mobile startups if you have something that matches, you know who to call). Motricity declined to say what area of technology it is looking to acquire, but the company previously bought M7 Networks and GoldPocket Wireless.

The company will have a hard time gaining any kind of tech edge against San Diego giant Qualcomm, with its patent-generating engineers and its own substantial M&A strategy. At the same time the mobile content market is maturing (ie see the troubles of InfoSpace) and carriers and content companies are getting more selective about deals. But Motricity also already has some large carrier customers like Cingular, and Sprint Nextel as well as media companies like MTV, BET, and CBS.

Motricity wouldn’t disclose any of its revenues, but is trying to become profitable this year. In December 2006, the company restructured its work force and announced that it will cut 50-odd jobs to become profitable in 2007. Like all over-funded start-ups, Motricity dreams of an IPO, and has hired Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to lead its IPO process, according to this local report.