NEW YORK--(www.thumbplay.com, the leading online retailer of mobile entertainment content, today announced it has secured $15 million in new capital through a $10 million Series C round led by Bain Capital Ventures and a $5 million line of credit with SVB Silicon Valley Bank. Existing Thumbplay investors, SoftBank Capital and i-Hatch Ventures, also participated in the Series C round. Additionally, Bain Capital Ventures managing director, Ajay Agarwal, will join Thumbplay’s board of directors.)--Thumbplay Inc.,
“With this new round of funding, Thumbplay will accelerate and expand its marketing efforts, while continuing to build the best consumer experience and mobile entertainment catalog available”
“With this new round of funding, Thumbplay will accelerate and expand its marketing efforts, while continuing to build the best consumer experience and mobile entertainment catalog available,” said Are Traasdahl, CEO of Thumbplay. “Thumbplay is positioned to widen the lead we have established as the top retailer of mobile content and one of the fastest-growing sites on the Web.”
Thumbplay joins the Bain Capital Ventures portfolio, which includes market-leading companies such as m-Qube (recently acquired by Verisign), Vonage, Rave Wireless, Skyhook Wireless and Inrix. Bain Capital Ventures is the venture arm of Bain Capital, which with its affiliates, has more than $40 billion of assets under management and has made investments in leading consumer brands including, Dunkin Donuts, Toys “R” Us, Warner Music Group, as well as leading internet companies such as DoubleClick and Shopping.com.
“We are big believers in the mobile content space, as early investors in m-Qube,” said Agarwal. “After conducting extensive due diligence in the direct-to-consumer content segment, Bain Capital Ventures identified Thumbplay as the clear leader, based on its superior consumer experience and the company’s impressive management team.”
SoftBank Capital is investing its second round of funding in Thumbplay, following its initial funding in December 2005 when managing partner, Eric Hippeau, joined Thumbplay’s board of directors. Hippeau is also a member of the board at Yahoo! Inc.
“SoftBank Capital is extremely pleased with the success Thumbplay has generated this past year, thanks to the combination of their premium portfolio of content, strategic partnerships and world-class management team,” said Hippeau.
i-Hatch Ventures is investing its third round of funding in Thumbplay. i-Hatch seeded the company with its initial funding in 2004 and has supported the company through all subsequent funding rounds. i-Hatch recently sold Widerthan, the market leader in combined wireless messaging and multimedia solutions, to RealNetworks Inc.
“Thumbplay’s rapid acceleration in the mobile space is a clear indication of how its diverse product portfolio of content and web site resonates with consumers,” said i-Hatch Ventures general partner and Thumbplay board member, Chip Austin.
Thumbplay has gained broad recognition as a leader in the direct-to-consumer mobile content space. The company’s success in 2006 has been illustrated by recent Hitwise and comScore research data. Hitwise, the world's leading online competitive intelligence service, ranked Thumbplay as the leading online website in the “Entertainment – Mobile Phones” category for the month of September. Additionally, according to a comScore Media Metrix report, Thumbplay.com was listed as one of the 10 fastest growing Internet sites in July 2006 with a 51 percent increase month-over-month, growing from 3.5 million unique visitors in June to 5.3 million in July.
Recently, Thumbplay announced partnerships with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and the Walt Disney Internet Group to offer premier entertainment content directly to consumers. Thumbplay currently offers more than 50,000 pieces of mobile entertainment content and supports all major wireless carriers. Members can purchase content as part of the Thumbplay subscription plan or on an à la carte basis. Billing appears directly on the customer’s wireless carrier bill.
Thumbplay Inc. is the leading online retailer of mobile entertainment content. The company aggregates, promotes and delivers mobile content directly to members via www.Thumbplay.com. The site offers ringtones, wallpapers, games and text-based services through a membership-based, community experience. Thumbplay, headquartered in New York, was founded by CEO Are Traasdahl and Executive Vice President, Marketing Evan Schwartz.
About Bain Capital Ventures
Bain Capital Ventures is the Boston-based venture capital arm of Bain Capital. Founded in 1984, Bain Capital and its affiliates have invested in over 230 companies with such notable successes as DoubleClick, Gartner Group, and Staples. Bain Capital Ventures invests across all stages of a company's growth from providing seed capital through offering late stage growth equity. Bain Capital Ventures and its early stage companies benefit from the broader resources of Bain Capital, including more than 400 investment professionals across North America, Europe, and Asia, $40 billion of assets under management, and the knowledge gained from 20 years of successful venture investing. For more information, visit www.baincapitalventures.com.
About SoftBank Capital
SoftBank Capital is an independent venture capital firm focused on high-growth, technology-based businesses benefiting from the rapid deployment and adoption of broadband and mobile technologies. Through its current fund, SoftBank Capital Technology Fund III L.P., the firm has invested to date in Anystream, Associated Content, Aequus Technologies, Beliefnet, The Huffington Post, Insider Pages, LiteScape Technologies, Nellymoser, The NewsMarket, Perpetual Entertainment, Pivot Solutions, PureVideo, Thumbplay, V-Enable and Voxant. For more about SoftBank Capital see www.softbank.com.
About i-Hatch Ventures
i-Hatch Ventures is an early stage venture capital investment fund primarily focused on the mobile and broadband sectors. Other i-Hatch mobile investments include Vindigo (now Nasdaq:FSDCF), WiderThan (Nasdaq: WTHN sold to Real Networks RNWK), Equator (now Nasdaq: PXLW), M:Metrics, Reaxion, and LimeLife. The firm, based in New York City, was founded by Chip Austin and Brad Farkas. For more information, visit http://www.i-hatch.com.
About SVB Silicon Valley Bank
SVB Silicon Valley Bank provides commercial banking services to emerging growth and mature companies in the technology, life science, private equity and premium wine industries. Through its focus on specialized markets and extensive knowledge of the people and business issues driving them, SVB Silicon Valley Bank provides a level of service and partnership that measurably impacts its clients’ success. Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., the company serves clients around the world through 27 U.S. offices and three international operations. SVB Silicon Valley Bank is a member of global financial services firm SVB Financial Group, with SVB Alliant, SVB Analytics, SVB Capital, SVB Global and SVB Private Client Services. More information on the company can be found at www.svb.com.
SVB Silicon Valley Bank refers to Silicon Valley Bank, the California bank subsidiary and the commercial banking operation of SVB Financial Group. Banking services are provided by Silicon Valley Bank, a member of the FDIC and the Federal Reserve. SVB Private Client Services is a division of Silicon Valley Bank. SVB Financial Group is also a member of the Federal Reserve.