Danish Mobile Social Network ZYB Acquired By Vodafone For €31.5 million

ZYB, a mobile social network that we gave high marks to in August 2007, has been acquired by Vodafone for €31.5 million, or about $50 million. The company had raised just €3 million in venture capital.

ZYB was smart in how they built their service. At first they were a simple address book backup-to-web service. But they realized they had a very complete social graph from the data (who’s closer to you than the people you call frequently on your mobile phone)? So they launched a mobile social network on the back of the original service.

We’ve continued to write about ZYB in comparison to competing mobile social networks (an area we’ve taken a special interest in). Last month. ZYB acquired one of those competitors, Imity.

The press release is below:

Vodafone Announces the Acquisition of ZYB

16 May 2008

Vodafone* today announces that it has agreed to acquire 100% of ZYB, a privately-owned company based in Denmark which operates a social networking and online management tool enabling mobile phone users to back-up and share their handsets’ contact and calendar information online. The acquisition will be made for a cash consideration of Eur31.5 million.

The acquisition of ZYB is a further advance in the implementation of Vodafone’s Total Communications strategy which is delivering new revenue growth around fixed broadband, mobile advertising and a rich set of internet services that integrate the mobile and PC customer experience. ZYB fits into this strategy by enhancing the range of communications services Vodafone can provide to its customers.

ZYB is unique amongst social networking sites as it is designed with the mobile device at its heart, allowing customers to share information and messages between their friends and colleagues who are held in their mobile phone’s address book.

ZYB increases communication choices for customers enabling them to send messages and images from their PC to multiple mobile devices in their mobile community, as well as taking advantage of the functionality of an instant messaging service.

Pieter Knook, Internet Services Director for Vodafone Group, said: “Vodafone understands that the core of any customer’s personal and business network is the set of contacts they hold on their mobile phone.

“Using a web portal as a link between the PC and the mobile device, ZYB provides an interactive way for people to nurture, contact and develop their relationships with their most important friends and colleagues and builds links with those contacts’ wider networks. This is Web 2.0 in action.

“This acquisition is consistent with our strategy of delivering products and services which meet our customers’ total communications needs.”

Tommy Ahlers, CEO of ZYB, added: “I am delighted that ZYB is to join Vodafone, the world’s largest international mobile community.

“Vodafone and ZYB share the same vision: to create a new mobile experience that builds on the convergence between the mobile and PC – and one which works on both platforms.

“By joining a company with Vodafone’s global reach, ZYB has more opportunities to bring to the mobile a further advance to the rich and interactive communications experience which people already recognise via the internet on their PC.”

ZYB will remain based in Denmark and upon acquisition will be incorporated into Vodafone’s Internet Services Division.

* The purchaser of ZYB is Vodafone Europe BV, a holding company of Vodafone Group, based in The Netherlands.