You’re reading this here first: Contentsutra has learned from reliable sources that Gingersoft Media, the company which runs a permission based mobile advertisement service mginger, has received an undisclosed amount of funding from NEA IndoUS Ventures. We contacted mginger CEO Chaitanya Nallan (after several attempts), but he refused to confirm or deny the news. He also refused to divulge whether other VC funds apart from NEA IndoUS are involved in the funding. As per industry sources, NEA has invested around $2 million in mginger, at a valuation of around $5 million. Other sources concur, saying that NEA was looking at a deal size of around $2-3 million.
Many, including me, have doubted the mginger model of paying users (details here) to receive advertisements by SMS – would advertisers find value in paying users to receive SMS’? How can they be sure that the messages are read? The institution of the Do-Not-Call registry in India, for which around 6.5 million mobile users have signed up already, has opened up an opportunity for permission based mobile advertising companies. Many have told me over the past couple of weeks that the model is now gathering steam and advertisers are signing up. Others in this domain include mgarlic.com, admad.mobi, m-earn.com, 160by2.com, among others. There are three different types of permission based advertising models – the first, like mginger, pays users to accept advertisements; the second, like 160by2, allows users to send SMS’ for free, with a part of the text message used for adverts, while the third, like MyToday follows the publishing/newsletter model wherein users request content or alerts, and ads are sent along with the message.