Israel-based Zlango will announce a $12 million round of financing tomorrow, led by BenchMark Capital and Accel Partners. The company launched the Zlango icon-based SMS service in the middle of 2006, and has expanded to three countries (Israel, Poland and certain Caribbean cell phone carriers). The press release for the financing (see bottom of post) was written in Zlango with an English translation (a nice touch).
The company has created an entirely new language based on pictures. Users learn the language, which substitutes pictures for words and phrases, and use it to send text messages. Where Zlango is live, users can either download it directly or go through their carriers to use the software.
The fun with Zlango doesn’t stop with the press release, either. The company has created a music video to the Beatles song Drive My Car using Zlango (embedded above), and you can create your own Zlango messages on this page and email them to friends or embed them on any website.
I liked Zlango when I first saw it last year because they’ve created a new language. In the future, the company says, users will be able to create their own icons for personal use. And then users can start to put those icons into the Zlango community, where they will be voted on and possibly included into the language. So just like any other language, Zlango will evolve over time based on usage patterns.
About 100 various handsets are now supported by Zlango. Here’s the press release: