Benchmark Capital led the $3 million round of investment in Zlango, an Israeli start up developing graphic icons for text messaging. This is the second round of financing for Zlango, who has raised $16.5 to date. Previous investors include Benchmark, Accel Partners, Brooks-Keret Group, Israel Angels Management, and private investors.
As described by on Zlango’s EMEA Sales Director (on his LinkedIn profile):
Zlango is a Rich-Media messaging service over SMS infrastructure that is combining the good of the two worlds;
The ubiquitous SMS on one axis, and the rich-media on the other axis.
In its basic, Zlango offers an application that enables users to exchange rich-media messages (Mobile 2 Mobile) over the existing SMS infrastructure (Alongside additional WEB services).
In a comment to Globes, CEO Roni Haim said that Zlango intends to use the proceeds to expand its marketing efforts and global precense as well as continue to develop Zlango’s device compatibility. He also added that the company would hold more financing rounds in the future.
Zlango is available on 20 languages and is compatible with 500 mobile models. The product enables users to type a textual message which is then automatically translated to an icon. To date, more than 3 billion icons have been shared. Zlango generates revenue by charging mobile operators on the basis of active users of the service, as well as use of its proprietary infrastructure and 24 hour support. Current customers include: Telecom Italia, Portugal’s TMN SA, and India’s Aircel.
Zlango has a head count of 33 and is headquartered in Tel Aviv. Most of the company’s employees are in R&D.
VC Cafe’s take:
Zlango has demonstrated it can deliver on the technology side. With serious funding, the company’s challenge will be to deilver both revenue and user growth by generating additional telco deals. I would caveat Mike Eisenberg’s statement: “The company is on the verge of an extraordinary breakthrough.” and say that the company “could be” on the verge.