SnapMyLife, a mobile social media site, was founded in April 2008 by George Grey and David Chang. The company was initially a side ‘project’ on their first venture, mobile content directory Mobicious.com, when they noticed that many users were submitting their own user-generated content to the site. The ‘project’ took off immediately and soon became the pair’s primary focus. SnapMyLife, based in Needham, Massachusetts, allows users to share photos from locations around the world and offers location tagging and interactive picture maps. Moreover, the site is optimized for viewing photos directly on mobile phones.
While mobile sites such as Radar.net, focus on private use cases—sharing pictures privately with only those who you know in real life—SnapMyLife tries to cater to a wider audience and includes public use cases. Many similar companies serve a narrow demographic interested in flirting and dating, but SnapMyLife says that it uses real-time, scalable filtering technology to eliminate risqué content to widen its audience base. Though users range in age and demographic profile and come from all over the world, the average US user is 35 years old, with an annual household income of over $60,000.
This profile is quite different from the company’s primary target: consumers in countries where there is high mobile-web penetration and low Internet penetration. SnapMyLife, owned by Mobicious, pegs its potential audience at over 3 billion phone subscribers globally and estimates its addressable market to be $4.6 billion in 2012 without direct ad sales. With the site’s content-filtering technology, the company has been able to attract a premium community and try to reinforce that trend by targeting users in the 35+ category in their advertisements. The company used both word-of-mouth referrals and selective use of mobile web advertising on a global basis to get traction. Since its launch in April 2008, there are more than 600,000 registered users, with over 1.5 million monthly unique visitors on the mobile web and 15+ million monthly page views.
Over the past year, the company has also collected accolades and nominations. It was awarded the Mobile Village Mobile Gold Star Award ands was listed among the top 10 social networking sites for the Apple iPhone. Further, it was named as a finalist at Nokia’s MobileRules competition, The MITX Technology Awards, The Mobile Excellence Awards, and AT&T’s Fast Pitch New England competition.
SnapMyLife is a free-to-consumer service and relies on a revenue model based on display advertising. Some of its top-tier advertisers include Reebok, McDonald’s, Lifetime Entertainment, Warner Brothers and Green Mountain Coffee. It also plans to offer premium sponsorships for consumer brands and media company partners to take advantage of premium placement, ‘featured’ status, and specific promotions on the site. Finally, the company is working with media companies such as The Travel Channel, which is running a “Teaser Photo Program” on SnapMyLife for the network’s hit series ‘No Reservations’ with Anthony Bourdain.
The company is venture backed and has raised $9 million so far: a $4 million Series A with North Bridge Venture Partners and Carmel Ventures in May 2007 and a $5 million Series B with these same investors in December 2008. SnapMyLife plans to use the latest round of funding to expand its global footprint and add services. Its goal is to accelerate business development efforts and establish relationships with wireless carriers, key media and entertainment companies and consumer brands to increase distribution.
The VCs are largely doing internal rounds for the portfolios of companies they want to continue to support right now, and SnapMyLife’s December funding is a case in point. Raising money from new investors has become extremely difficult for startups in the current environment.
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009