Mozes

Mozes Raises $11.5 Million for SMS-Based Communities. Wants to Move Beyond Bands To Brands.

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Palo Alto-based mobile startup Mozes has secured an additional $11.5 million in Series B funding from lead investor Maveron, as well as existing investors North Bridge Venture Partners and Norwest Venture Partners.

Mozes powers online communities for musicians that fans can join by texting special keywords to designated phone numbers. Once fans have opted into, say, the Death Cab for Cutie “mob”, they can keep track of that band through the Mozes website, their social network profiles, and messages sent right to their phones. Fans can also respond to their favorite artists by sending them text messages and other media like photos and voicemail.

This is just a sample of the services Mozes has built around SMS. The company also provides text-based voting systems, which we used at the TechCrunch40 conference last year to collect responses from attendees.

This Series B round brings the company’s total to $16.5 million, with a Series A of $5 million having been raised in February 2007.

Update: We spoke to Mozes CEO Dorrian Porter and got some more details. Jonathan Fram from Maveron will be joining the board (he also sits on the board of Video Egg). Since launch last year, 1.5 million fans have participated on Mozes, with about 45 percent opting to receive ongoing messages in subscription form. There are 4,000 bands that market through Mozes, and anywhere from 10,000 to 150,000 messages a day are sent through the service.

Most significantly, Porter will try to move Mozes beyond just bands. He wants to position Mozes away from being seen as simply a music social network. Instead, he wants to it also to be known as a mobile marketing platform for sports teams, retailers, lifestyle brands, and even conferences. To that end, he will be launching a newly designed Website in early June that appeals as much to marketers as it does to music fans. (We are waiting to see how he does that). But the polling and messaging features of his service could certainly be applied to other forms if mobile marketing.

The thing is, Porter needs to hire someone to lead Web development for Mozes. He is so desperate that he is offering his employees major incentives for any referral that leads to a successful hire. And he is extending the offer to TechCrunch readers. So if you know someone who can lead a Web development team, refer them to Mozes, and Porter hires that person, you will get:

$10,000 cash
$500 Starbucks Gift Card
Two airline tickets to Hawaii
Sony Bravia 60-inch 1080p Rear Projection HDTV

Candidates can even refer themselves. Send the referral by email to tcweb [at] mozes-inc [dot] com. The only caveat is that the person must stay for at least 90 days.

Extravagant? Maybe. But with $11.5 million in his bank account, he can afford it.

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