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OZ Communications – Profile

September 22, 2004

HQ: Montreal, Canada
Founded: Pre-1995.
Management: The usual Scandinvian wireless suspects. CEO is Skuli Mogensen, who founded Oz as a VRML virtual world before swapping business models in 2002. In its heyday, the young, backbeated Skuli managed nearly 100 people who built his virtual world out of San Francisco and Reykjavik and was funded by the likes of Intel and IBM, before that world flamed out.
Investors: Completed $27.3M investment from VantagePoint Venture Partners in September 2004.
Business Model: Software to manage Mobile Instant Messaging. First significant deal is with T-Mobile on the Nokia 6800. Oz provides the billing application and it provides dynamic IM protocol conversion to proprietary IM protocols such as AOL and Yahoo Instant Messenger.
Competitors: AT&T Wireless has Wireless Village clients in some of its Nokia handsets; Sprint has a downloadable Java-based Yahoo! Messenger offering; Verizon Wireless has a BREW client for AIM and MSN Messenger; Cingular Wireless is using a Wireless Village server from Openwave Systems.
Dirt: We recall going to a party at Oz’s sleek San Francisco offices when the company’s VRML operation was fat and happy – the draw for journalists was an opportunity to meet with the President and First Lady of Iceland – enchanting people. Oz has certainly wandered around for a decade before finally getting financial traction this year, particularly with its T-Mobile relationship. If the company can continue to make progress, it has the potential to grow into other wireless application areas and become for consumers what Good Technology is becoming for businesses.


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