The financing will be used for launch operations, content licensing and marketing activities. Amp'd Mobile is slated to begin services later this year.
Amp'd Mobile's investors are some of the industry's most renowned and have proven track records with consumer technology, entertainment and youth companies, adding strength to the expertise of the Amp'd management team. Some key past deals for these groups include highly successful investments in TiVo, NetFlix and MySpace for Redpoint Ventures; Lycos, MapQuest and Starent Networks for Highland Capital Partners; and XM Satellite Radio, Nextel and MetroPCS for Columbia Capital.
"We've had incredible interest from the investment community and we've worked hard to find the best of the best in the venture capital and strategic investment worlds to add value and help us deliver a completely unique, broadband wireless experience," said Peter Adderton, CEO/founder, Amp'd Mobile. "Our new shareholders bring together some of the most experienced executives from the music and technology industries to give us the support we need to get to market quickly and maintain a competitive edge."
As well as its investment in Amp'd, Universal Music Group (UMG), the world's leading music company with key artists like Eminem, Gwen Stefani, The Killers, 50 Cent, Black Eyed Peas and 3 Doors Down, among others, will also provide content for Amp'd Mobile's music channels. In addition to Universal's artists, Amp'd Mobile plans to offer a wide range of music content, including other music labels, independent artists and user-generated content to its subscribers. Complementing their audio content, Amp'd will have the latest music videos available and programming from UMG's IMF-International Music Feed channel currently available nationally on the DISH satellite television network.
"Amp'd is leading the way in developing exciting opportunities for 3G mobile technology for young people," stated Doug Morris, chairman and chief executive officer of Universal Music Group. "Its proven executive team has uniquely positioned the company to capitalize on the exciting new marketplace that the advent of 3G technology opens up. Because Amp'd Mobile will be a key player in the global entertainment market for 3G applications, we decided to invest as well as provide content for the service."
Amp'd Mobile will leverage the power of broadband wireless (3G EV-DO-Evolution-Data Optimized) and will offer traditional wireless phone services plus a completely fresh proprietary user interface and fully customizable experience designed specifically for the 18-35-year-old audience. Focusing largely on mobile content, Amp'd plans to offer the best in entertainment, music and gaming as well as a wealth of original and user-generated content.
"By approaching this space as a mobile entertainment company and focusing on the user experience and branding, we see Amp'd Mobile bringing together all the right elements for the U.S. to truly embrace 3G technology," said Jon Auerbach, general partner, Highland Capital Partners. "Adderton's experience and previous success in the youth MVNO space and his management team's expertise in both entertainment and wireless industries helped make our decision to invest an easy one."
About Amp'd Mobile
Amp'd Mobile will be the first integrated mobile entertainment company for youth, young professionals and early adopters. By leveraging the power of broadband wireless (EVDO), Amp'd will offer traditional services such as voice and text within a completely fresh user interface designed specifically for the "mobile graduate" and third-generation (3G) technology. With a myriad of customizable options to meet each person's individual needs, Amp'd will bring a more relevant, personal experience to wireless lifestyle with unique music, video, community, entertainment, sports and gaming offerings divided into various channels for quick and easy access. Launching in late 2005, more information can be found at www.ampdmobile.com.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the world's largest music company with wholly owned record operations or licensees in 77 countries. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry's largest global music publishing operations.
Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Music Group, Deutsche Grammophon, DreamWorks Nashville, Interscope Geffen A&M Records, Geffen Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Philips, Polydor Records, Universal Music Latino, Universal Motown Records Group and Verve Music Group, as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry, which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes eLabs, a new media and technologies division, and Universal Music Mobile.
Universal Music Group is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.
About Highland Capital Partners
Highland Capital Partners was founded with the mission of helping great people build great companies. Since its inception in 1988, the firm has taken a sector-focused and stage-diversified approach to investing in exceptional information technology, communications and healthcare companies. With over $1.8 billion of committed capital, Highland has invested in and worked to create such firms as Ask Jeeves, Avid Technology, Be Free, CheckFree, Conor Medsystems, EXACT Sciences, Lycos, MapQuest, Ocular Networks, Odyssey Healthcare, Renal Treatment Centers, Sybase, Telica and WebLine Communications. For more information, visit Highland's web site at www.hcp.com.
About Columbia Capital
Columbia Capital is a venture capital firm specializing in the communications and information technology industries. Founded in 1989, Columbia Capital has helped establish more than 100 early stage ventures and currently manages more than $1.5 billion in capital. Columbia Capital has been an active participant in the wireless communications industry since its formative period nearly 20 years ago. In the wireless communications and entertainment categories specifically, Columbia Capital has been a founding investor in such notable successes as XM Satellite Radio, Nextel Communications, WNP Communications, Advanced Radio Telecom, NeoWorld Communications and Digital Television Services. Columbia Capital has also helped establish numerous other successful wireless service providers including MetroPCS, Mobile Satellite Ventures, Revol Wireless, Coral Wireless and WCS Wireless. For more information, visit Columbia Capital at www.colcap.com.
About Redpoint Ventures
With more than a combined 100 years of operational, industry and technology investing experience, Redpoint Ventures is a leading venture capital firm that funds innovative companies with the potential to lead and change industries. The firm is focused on investment opportunities in the consumer Internet, digital media, wireless data services, enterprise software and data center infrastructure sectors. Redpoint has $1.45 billion under management and investments with more than 70 companies. (www.redpoint.com). Redpoint (www.redpoint.com), headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., with offices in Los Angeles.