MessageMe, the multimedia messaging app that got smacked by Facebook last week, isn’t letting that hurdle set back their growth.
The company said today that it has more than 1 million users, is sending 500 notifications now per second and recently picked up $1.9 million in funding from a large syndicate of some of the Valley’s best-known investors.
They include True Ventures, First Round Capital, Google Ventures, SVAngel, Resolut.vc, Andreessen Horowitz, Greylock Partners and Social+Capital Partnership. The company’s angels also include Airbnb’s Brian Pokorny, Hiten Shah, Eric Wu and TinyCo CEO Suleman Ali.
While the messaging space is incredibly competitive with apps from Facebook, Apple’s iMessages plus the big Asian clients like Tencent’s WeChat and NHN’s Line, MessageMe thinks it can carve out a space because of the way it quickly pulls in rich media like doodles and videos.
Basically, they think it’s a lot more expressive than standard messaging and silly as it seems, those doodles will differentiate them from the very large field of competition. The app pulls in images from Google search, music from iTunes or videos from YouTube.
Because of the team’s background from the social gaming world, they understand how to quickly and virally grow a product. CEO Arjun Sethi used to run an early social gaming company called LOLApps before it merged with a publisher 6Waves.
MessageMe’s growth attracted a response from Facebook last week when the company decided to shut down the app’s access to the social graph. The company cited the part of its platform policy where it says apps can’t replicate core functionality of the Facebook product if they want access to the “Find Friends” feature.
But now that they’ve got momentum, the question is whether users will stick over the long run, especially when there are so many other options.
Not only is there standard messaging built into Android and iOS devices, there are plenty of other apps. Sequoia-backed WhatsApp has dominant market share in many European countries, while Kakao leads the way in South Korea and Line has pulled in more than 120 million users, largely in Japan. The latter two have become powerful and lucrative platforms for distributing mobile games.