General Catalyst Partners, eFund LLC, and Bessemer Venture Partners back leader in mobile entertainment
MFORMA Group Inc., a leading global provider of wireless entertainment, announced today that it has raised $44 million in its first institutional round of financing co-led by General Catalyst Partners, eFund LLC, and Bessemer Venture Partners. MFORMA will use the new capital to extend its global distribution network, already one of the largest in the world. Prior to this investment, MFORMA had grown organically to cash flow positive and attained a world-leading position by providing wireless carriers with everything needed to successfully deliver mobile entertainment products to their subscribers. MFORMA provides distribution technology, managed services, and a comprehensive catalog of entertainment content to more than 60 of the world’s leading wireless operators.
"The market for mobile entertainment is the fastest growing market in the world and the demand for our products by mobile users is growing exponentially," said Daniel Kranzler, MFORMA CEO. "This demand, combined with the surge in availability of multimedia terminals, has created unprecedented market conditions both in the U.S. and internationally. MFORMA is consolidating the best companies in the industry and meeting this demand as the single source provider for wireless carriers around the world, delivering content and distribution technology that works across all networks, billing systems, handsets, operating systems, and regions of the world. We are pleased to have the support of our outstanding investors and the financial resources that allow us to scale and take full advantage of the global opportunity."
MFORMA was founded in 2001 and established itself first in the U.S., then Europe, and more recently, Asia through a process of mergers and acquisitions. MFORMA last month announced the establishment of MFORMA Korea, through its acquisition of MobileGame Korea, a leading mobile games developer and partner with whom it has been collaborating for two years. Through this acquisition MFORMA gained a team of world-class developers, direct distribution in Korea, and a respected local presence in Asia. MFORMA Group Inc. today comprises MFORMA Americas, MFORMA Europe, and MFORMA Korea.
According to a report by mobile industry analyst ARC Group, the global market for mobile entertainment services will reach $27 billion and have 2.5 billion users by 2008, while sales of Java-enabled handsets tripled in 2003 to reach 95.5 million units, up from 32 million in 2002. Shipments of devices embedded with Qualcomms BREW platform reached 11.6 million in 2003, up from 3.5 million in 2002.
"The mobile entertainment industry came of age in 2003 due to the arrival of Java handsets in the mass market and the emergence of operators as a content channel," said Stuart OBrien of the Mobile Games Analyst newsletter. "Significant revenues are being generated through the value chain, driven by content downloads and information services."
"General Catalyst has continued to search far and wide for connectivity platforms that deliver compelling products and services to solve real pain points in the marketplace and transform industries," said John Simon, managing director, General Catalyst Partners. "MFORMA is unique because it is led by a talented, driven management team that recognized early-on the growth opportunities in the wireless content market. That team continues to execute on a successful strategy by developing and acquiring a wide breadth of content types and product lines to position the company for international leadership."
"Bessemer has been studying the mobile entertainment space for over a year and has concluded that MFORMA is ideally placed for success," noted Ron Elwell, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners Massachusetts office. "With its presence on three continents, MFORMA has unparalleled experience in working with carriers around the world. We believe the company is poised to meet the demand of the rapidly growing worldwide mobile entertainment market."