Venice Beach, CA based Mogreet has raised a $5 million Series B funding from existing investor Draper Fisher Jurvetson Frontier and other venture capital firms such as Ascend Ventures, Black Diamond Ventures, and Spyglass Ventures. DFJ Frontier had already invested an undisclosed amount in an earlier round (estimated to be $1.2 million Update: We’ve confirmed from the company that the series A round was actually $2.1 million), and VentureBeat reported that the company subsequently raised $2.5 million in a Series B last June. But CEO James Citron says that report was false, and the correct amount is $5 million.
Mogreet, founded in 2006, has developed a distribution platform for mobile video messages dubbed ‘mogreets’ (short for mobile greetings), which can be delivered by MMS or as an attachment in a text message. Mogreets, which are in essence video files compressed to 100 kilobits or less, are priced between $0.49 and $0.99. Evidently, teenagers are the company’s main target group.
We have a promotion code so 200 TechCrunch readers can try out the beta service for free; if you’re based in the US or UK, try entering ‘techcrunch‘ in the promo code field when sending a video message from their library. It’ll work for a week or so.
By striking deals with major Hollywood studios like Paramount and other content partners, Mogreet has built up a 3500-strong catalog of greetings ranging from short original clips shot with celebrities to re-purposed clips from films. Other clips include animation and user-generated content. The company also offers an ad-supported outlet with free mobile video greetings that are used as a promotional tool for upcoming film releases. In those cases, mogreets are free to the user with the advertiser picking up a fraction of the charge depending on how many messages are sent. Subscription-based pricing models are in development and expected to be released in early 2009, enabling users to send an unlimited amount of mogreets for under $5 per month.
Mogreet has sealed a number of on-deck distribution partnerships with AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Sprint. When you send a mogreet, the charge is added to your mobile phone bill, making it unnecessary to enter credit card information. The company also offers off-deck access on all the major U.S. carriers and on 3 and T-Mobile in Britain.
Depending on the carrier, recipients may need a data plan to receive the Mogreet video message.