Today’s Deal Radar company, Zannel, is another example of the move towards mobile convergence and the elimination of walls between the platforms people use to buy goods and services, communicate with friends, and find information. A mobile video and microblogging community, Zannel was the first mobile media company that allowed users to instantly share their videos and photos across mobile, web, and social networks.
Adam Zbar, Steve Hoffman, Braxton Woodham and Harry Evans founded Zannel in late 2007 in order to address two issues. First, though 80% of mobile users have phones with cameras, only 50% of them take mobile pictures or videos, and only 5% of these are shared. The founders wanted to develop the easiest and most fun way for content creators to share their media across mobiles, the web, and all major social networks. Second, they wanted to democratize mobile media so that anyone could share their mobile photos and videos with friends and fans.
Zannel’s Instant Media Messaging™ service allows content creators to syndicate and monetize their content across the social web/mobile web. But according to the company, what makes Zannel unique is its flagship product, Tourwatch. The patent-pending monetization platform allows major artists such as comedian Dane Cook and musician Keith Urban to syndicate and monetize their most valuable video content on mobiles and the web via downloads, subscriptions, and sponsorship.
Though users can create share, discuss their photos and videos for free on Zannel, they have to pay to get access to premium updates from top-tier talent in way of downloads (iPhone app) or subscriptions (PSMS). This service includes exclusive video, picture, and text updates; the ability to view a band’s tour on a map and get the latest tour information; and the ability to purchase tickets, music, and merchandise directly from the application.
The San Francisco-based company is targeting three groups: content creators such as musicians, celebrities and sportspeople who are looking to monetize their social media; content creators who are looking to promote themselves across social networks by leveraging Zannel’s one-click content syndicate platform; and everyone who loves to take photos and make videos with their mobile phone and needs a service that allows them to share content with friends and family. The company also derives revenue from advertising and sponsorship.
Zannel boasts of one million registered users. According to Compete, there were slightly more than 50,000 unique visitors in April 2009. The company has partnerships with top artists including Keith Urban and Dane Cook, as mentioned above, and it is going to announce partnerships with other artists soon. Further, it has over 50 partnerships with media companies such as Warner Brothers, Capitol, Endemol, Road&Track, Ubisoft, Universal Pictures, Universal Music Group, Versaly Entertainment, Walt Disney Pictures, and Playboy. The company also has on-deck partnerships with all major mobile carriers in the US, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Virgin. Zannel’s awards include the Webby award for Best Mobile Social Network in 2008 and the Mobile Excellence award for Best Mobile Service in 2008.
Zannel has raised $16 million in venture capital so far: a $6 million Series A from Palomar Ventures and US Venture Partners and a $10 million Series B from Alloy Ventures, US Venture Partners and Palomar Ventures. The company did not comment on its profitability but said that there is strong revenue traction. Further, Zannel said that it is working with a number of major partners that may lead to a high-value exit at a later date.
This segment is a part in the series : Deal Radar 2009