Visage Mobile – Profile
HQ: San Francisco
Management: CEO is Matt Johnson, who previously was founder & CEO of the South Park, SF-based BigWords – an online textook retailer that raised $100M+ before the flameout. He had the guts to hire the former CFO of Petopia.
Investors: Visage raised $21.6M in Series B financing in September 2004 from Mobius Venture Capital, Advanced Technology Ventures, Vesbridge Partners (formerly St. Paul Venture Capital) and Selby Venture Partners, Emergence Capital Partners and Palisades Ventures.
Business Model: Enabling platform that will allow companies with recognizable name brands or relevant content to get into the wireless business without having to build a network or back office infrastructure. Rather, they can private-label the platform from Visage. According to company, brands must put in $3-5M and could conceivably break even and become profitable with as few as 50-100K subscribers.
Competitors: Sprint provides private label service for Virgin Mobile. Nextel has also jumped in.
Dirt: VCs love clever plays like this that are based on the application of previously successful business models – in this case private label credit cards. However, the comparison seems off. People want NY Jets credit cards, but why a NY Jets mobile phone? Visage has not yet announced that they are working with any major brands. VCs must be happy with the technical progress that the company has made, but the company needs a win bad.