4Info Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif.-based mobile search company, has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Peacock Equity, a $250 million venture capital fund formed earlier this year from GE and NBC Universal. As part of the deal, 4Info will become NBC Universal's preferred mobile SMS advertising partner. 4Info previously had raised around $28 million from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, U.S. Venture Partners, Sand Hill Capital and Gannett Co.
Peacock Equity, a joint venture between GE Commercial Finance's Media, Communications & Entertainment business and NBC Universal, today announced an investment in mobile media company 4INFO, the leader in SMS/text message content and advertising. 4INFO is the sixth Peacock Equity investment since the $250 million fund was established in April. 4INFO will become NBC Universal's preferred mobile SMS advertising partner, serving targeted advertisements into NBC's existing user-requested SMS traffic. The amount of the funding was not disclosed.
NBC Universal programs an expanding combination of interactive SMS voting, fan clubs and alerts across nearly all of its operating divisions, including entertainment, news, local, sports and cable entertainment. 4INFO will provide technology and services that will enable NBC Universal to offer dynamic, targeted advertising in its text messaging content. As part of the deal, NBC Universal will also be able to supplement its own alerts content offerings with 4INFO consumer services such as health tips, fantasy sports player statistics and custom, user-defined alerts.
“4INFO clearly fits Peacock Equity's strategic funding objectives: it has a market-leading position within a high-growth sector and it has an existing community of users accustomed to receiving customized ad-supported content in text messages this makes; 4INFO a very attractive partner for NBC Universal,” said Tom Byrne, managing director and group head, Peacock Equity. “Mobile advertising will be a multi-billion dollar industry in the next few years as more progressive content providers and advertisers like NBC Universal realize its potential to engage audiences with targeted, measurable messages.”
“We are very excited to partner with 4INFO to provide NBC Universal with additional options for generating revenue in mobile,” said Salil Dalvi, general manager, wireless, NBC Universal Digital Distribution. “Ad-supported text messaging is an important way for NBCU to tap into the emerging mobile advertising market.”
Founded in 2004, 4INFO delivers millions of real-time, user-requested answers and alerts via mobile SMS text messages to consumer's mobile devices, helping people stay in the know while “on the go.” All 4INFO user-requested SMS content is ad-supported, with 4INFO customizing targeted, interactive response campaigns on behalf of its advertising partners.
“This is a very exciting time to be in the mobile media business,” said Zaw Thet, CEO and co-founder of 4INFO. “We are so pleased to be working with the Peacock Equity team because they not only understand the nuances of our industry, but also how 4INFO can maximize its various assets and best navigate the path toward growth.”
Previous Peacock Equity investments have been made in Adify, FireBrand, Healthline, IGA Worldwide and Trion.
About Peacock Equity
Peacock Equity is a $250 million global capital fund co-founded by GE Commercial Finance's Media, Communications & Entertainment business and NBC Universal. Introduced in April 2007, the joint venture focuses on companies developing technologies, platforms or business models that are a strategic fit to NBC Universal and have high growth potential. Peacock Equity's capital investments, which include advertising services, digital content and communities, wireless and international platforms, range from $3 to $25 million each. www.PeacockEquity.com
The leader in text messaging services, 4INFO helps people stay in the know while they're on the go. Founded in 2004, 4INFO delivers millions of real-time SMS answers and entertainment messages – both as a response to a search query, or as an alert on subjects ranging from sports scores and weather updates to stock quotes and celebrity gossip. 4INFO's services work on any cell phone and are free of charge. Companies also partner with 4INFO to connect with their mobile audiences and deliver free ad-supported SMS content. 4INFO's SMS ad serving technology and targeted advertising programs give businesses the ability to reach consumers in a new medium with measurable results. Headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., 4INFO is backed by Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Gannett Company, Sand Hill Capital, U.S. Venture Partners and Peacock Equity. Learn more at www.4info.net or send a text to 44636.
About NBC Universal Digital Distribution
NBC Universal Digital Distribution, a division of NBC Universal, drives the company's development of digital content and distribution in the areas of digital business development and sales, digital platforms and wireless products. NBC Universal Digital Distribution manages product strategy and development for NBC Universal's content efforts by deploying it across multiple digital platforms including mobile, Internet portals, wireless carriers, emerging digital companies and nontraditional customers. In addition, NBCU Digital Distribution spearheads the company's development of industry leading technologies such as interactive television, on demand, electronic sell-through and IPTV. NBCU Digital Distribution also directs and manages the company's cable investments including A&E, The History Channel, History Channel International, The Biography Channel and the Sundance Channel.