GizMoz Raises $6.5 Million

GizMoz, a San Francisco-based social expression and user-generated media service, has raised $6.5 million in Series B funding. DoCoMo Capital led the round, and was joined by NGI Capital and return backers Benchmark Capital and Columbia Capital.



Gizmoz, , a social expression and user-generated media service, today announced that the company raised $6.5 million in Series B financing. The investment was led by DoCoMo Capital, Inc., a subsidiary of Japan's largest cellular phone service operator, with additional funding from ngi capital, inc., a subsidiary of ngi group, inc., and a leading venture capital firm in Japan. Series A investors Benchmark Capital and Columbia Capital also participated in the round. Gizmoz will use its strategic round to fund expansion into Asia starting with Japan, a market that leads the world in mobile Internet adoption.

“Gizmoz has done an excellent job of creating a social media platform for user-generated content that is unlike anything that exists in the world today,” said Nobuyuki Akimoto, president and chief executive officer of DoCoMo Capital. “As it begins its next phase of growth, with an increased emphasis on cross platform development, Japan represents a large and strategic market for the company. Gizmoz's offerings come at an opportune time in the development of Japan's extensive mobile ecosystem, and they should feed the strong desire of Japanese consumers to embrace innovative content enhanced by Gizmoz's technology.”

Early last year Gizmoz launched a free online service that allows consumers to express themselves across a range of digital communications. Key accomplishments to date include:

    — AOL Partnership to Introduce Gizmoz Characters to Millions of New Users


       Effective today, consumers using AOL's AIM service, the largest instant

       messaging community in the U.S., can now create AIM Gizmoz Expressions.

       These 3D, talking Gizmoz characters can be used to better personalize

       chat communications. (See separate release, “Gizmoz Delivers 3D Gizmoz

       Characters to AOL's AIM Users.”)


    — Expanded Offerings to Allow Creative Character Deployment


       In November, the company expanded its popular 3D photorealistic service

       by allowing consumers to embed Gizmoz characters into movie clips. Its

       Be a Star service lets users enjoy the fun and fame of sharing the Big

       Screen with their favorite actors. More recently, Gizmoz launched In

       Your Face, a Facebook application that sends highly-interactive,

       animated voice messages to members of the popular social networking

       community, allowing them to visually poke, egg, beautify or vanish

       their friends in a fun and hilarious way. Additionally, the

       distribution of Gizmoz characters via email, and throughout Bebo,

       MySpace, Orkut, Hi5, and other online communities, continues to grow



    — Innovative User-Generated Campaigns That Capture Elusive Youth


       In September, Gizmoz took consumer-generated TV advertising to a new

       level by partnering with Taco Bell to allow consumers to try out for,

       and star in, a nationally-broadcast commercial aired during the MTV

       video music award. In less than two weeks, consumers created more than

       17,000 Gizmoz clips, which were viewed more than one million times.

       Last month Gizmoz teamed up with ad agency Gringo to develop a new  Coca

       Cola Zero online campaign in Brazil. Consumers are invited into the

        Coca Cola Zero Rest Home where crazy things happen to their Gizmoz

       characters,  . Gizmoz is actively working with

       advertising agencies and leading consumer goods companies throughout

       the world to develop breakthrough branded campaigns that speak to the

       increasingly hard-to-reach youth audience.



“Gizmoz has enjoyed widespread adoption by consumers, advertisers and media partners over the last year, and with a number of exciting new products, programs and partnerships underway, the company is poised for significant expansion in 2008,” said Eyal Gever, chief executive officer and founder of Gizmoz. “As we move forward on a number of key initiatives, building cross platform synergies into our service is at the top of the list. To pursue our strategy, Asia will be key. This financing will play an important role in helping us develop unique offerings for this market.”


About DoCoMo Capital

DoCoMo Capital, Inc. is a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of NTT DoCoMo, Inc. (NYSE: DCM), the leading wireless network operator based in Japan. Working closely with NTT DoCoMo's business and R&D divisions, DoCoMo Capital is in charge of NTT DoCoMo's strategic investments in mobile communications related start-up companies mainly in the United States. For more information, visit .


About ngi capital, inc.

ngi capital, inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of ngi group, inc. (Tokyo Stock Exchange Mothers: 2497), a leading investor in and operator of Internet and mobile phone companies, including mixi, inc., the largest social network in Japan. ngi capital invests in early to seed stage companies both domestically and internationally. For more information, visit .


About Gizmoz

Founded in 2003, Gizmoz offers consumers a new generation of character-based visual expression for use across their digital lives. The Gizmoz service makes it easy to create, customize, animate and share photorealistic 3D talking characters and videos that allow consumers to communicate and express themselves in more realistic and imaginative ways. Gizmoz is funded by Benchmark Capital, Columbia Capital, DoCoMo Capital, ngi capital, inc., and Jagen, with offices in Menlo Park, CA and Israel. For more information, visit