Rogers continues to aggressively pursue new business opportunities this year. After trying its hand at unconventional business lines such as machine-to-machine (M2M) wireless connectivity, banking and home monitoring service, Rogers has now invested $5 million in Zoove, a mobile marketing solutions provider.
The strategic investment has been made by Rogers Ventures, the venture capital arm of Rogers Communications Inc., Canada’s largest provider of wireless voice and data communications services and one of Canada’s leading providers of cable television, high-speed Internet and telephony services.
The investment is a key step forward for Zoove, which also secured $15 million in Round D funding last month. The funds will be used to accelerate its expansion into the U.S. market. On the other hand, it signals yet another attempt by Rogers to move outside its comfort zone (read wireless) and target new business opportunities.
Zoove claims that its flagship offering ‘StarStar Numbers’ is a win-win proposition for brands as well as end customers. It provides a branded, ubiquitous direct response mechanism that lets business brands connect to any consumer with a mobile phone. On the other hand, it provides an easy to use interface for customers to request just about anything for their mobile phone. Typical StarStar number applications include coupons, voting, one-click videos etc. The numbers can be promoted as part of any marketing campaign, such as billboards, print or online ads, TV and radio commercials, consumer packaged goods, etc.
Zoove uses multiple channels for customer interaction, dependent on handset capabilities. For example, users will typically receive a text message or voice mail to initiate interaction with the marketer. They can then opt in to view websites and download apps, with standard data charges applying. Zoove has recently done advertising campaigns for **SUZUKI (**789854) and **FLOWERS (**3569377).
As part of the funding agreement, Mike Lee, Vice President of Rogers Ventures will join Zoove’s Board of Directors.
“StarStar numbers can be the next great ‘name space’ for advertisers—similar to branded URL names and vanity 1-800 numbers,” said Mike Lee, Vice President of Venture Investments at Rogers Ventures. “Brands should want to stake their claim to their own StarStar numbers to create a simple mobile extension for all of their other advertising efforts. It’s an exciting proposition for Rogers Ventures, and I look forward to joining the Board and supporting Zoove’s bright future.”
Zoove StarStar numbers are compliant the ‘Big Four’ US carriers including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. Zoove has currently no plans to launch its services in Canada.