Motricity Inc., a Durham, N.C.-based provider of mobile marketplace management solutions, has sold its smartphone and direct-to-consumer businesses to PocketGear, a new company formed by Motricity co-founder and former CTO Jud Bowman. No financial terms were disclosed, except that PocketGear has raised an undisclosed amount of VC funding from Motricity shareholders Noro-Moseley Partners and Wakefield Group.
Motricity has raised over $365 million in total VC funding. Backers include Advanced Equities, Carl Icahn, New Enterprise Associates, Technology Crossover Ventures, Massey-Burch Capital, Noro-Moseley Partners, Intel Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Sienna Ventures, TriState Investment Group and the Wakefield Group.
Jud Bowman, co-founder of Motricity, announced today the creation of his new venture, PocketGear, and the acquisition of the smartphone applications business from Motricity. The company also announced today that it has received investment from leading venture capital firms Noro-Moseley Partners and Wakefield Group.
PocketGear provides a platform connecting millions of people around the world with smartphone applications from a network of more than 30,000 developers. PocketGear powers smartphone application distribution for direct channels including PocketGear.com, SymbianGear.com, PalmGear.com, Smartphone.net, and Mobile2Day.de and for more than 15 partners including Palm, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, T-Online, and AOL. Since its inception, PocketGear has powered more than 100 million downloads to smartphones and mobile devices from a catalog of more than 50,000 applications.
“Mobile phones are increasingly smartphones that run advanced operating systems such as Palm OS, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Symbian OS or Linux, and Apple's iPhone and Google's Android are helping accelerate smartphone adoption,” said Jud Bowman, President and CEO of PocketGear. “The smartphone application market is poised for significant growth, and PocketGear is a platform that connects more than 30,000 developers of smartphone applications with millions of smartphone users around the world.”
The new company will be headquartered in Durham, North Carolina with offices in Munich, Germany.
“While it's difficult to leave Motricity, I'm incredibly excited about the opportunity to lead PocketGear and build a great company based in the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina,” said Bowman.
PocketGear also announced that Mike Elliott, General Partner at Noro-Moseley Partners, and Steve Nelson, Managing Director of Wakefield Group, have joined PocketGear's board of directors.
“Noro-Moseley backs great entrepreneurs and we couldn't be more excited to invest in Jud Bowman and PocketGear,” said Mike Elliott, General Partner at Noro-Moseley Partners. “We believe the market for smartphone content and applications is set for exponential growth and that PocketGear's technology, customers, and developer community are perfectly positioned to capture this opportunity.”
“I've had the chance to know and work closely with Jud Bowman for the past eight years in helping build Motricity,” said Steve Nelson, Managing Director of Wakefield Group. “I couldn't be more excited about the chance to do it again and help build PocketGear into one of the largest providers of content and applications for smartphones.”
Prior to PocketGear, Jud co-founded Motricity and was instrumental in raising $400 million of venture capital and growing Motricity to more than $100 million in annual revenues and 500 employees globally supporting one of the industry's leading mobile content delivery platforms that delivers more than $1 billion of content to mobile phones per year and was named the 2006 Best Service Delivery Platform by the GSM Association, Best Content Service Delivery Platform by Mobile Entertainment magazine and honored by Frost & Sullivan as the Premium Mobile Content Platform of the Year in 2005.
Jud has been named as one of the world's “Top 100 Young Innovators” by MIT's Technology Review and one of “Tech's Best Young Entrepreneurs” by BusinessWeek in 2007. He was also recognized as a winner of the Carolinas' Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award in 2001. Jud is currently on leave from Stanford University, where he has been named a President's Scholar, and is a graduate of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics.
About PocketGear, Inc.
PocketGear provides a platform connecting millions of people around the world with smartphone applications from a network of more than 30,000 developers. PocketGear powers smartphone application distribution for direct channels including PocketGear.com, SymbianGear.com, PalmGear.com, Smartphone.net, and Mobile2Day.de and for more than 15 partners including Palm, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, T-Online, and AOL. Since its inception, PocketGear has powered more than 100 million downloads to smartphones and mobile devices from a catalog of more than 50,000 applications. Acquired from Motricity in 2008 by Motricity co-founder Jud Bowman, PocketGear is backed by leading venture capital firms Noro-Moseley Partners and Wakefield Group. PocketGear is headquartered in Durham, NC with offices in Munich, Germany. For more information, please visit www.pocketgear.com.
About Noro-Moseley Partners
Founded in 1983, Atlanta-based Noro-Moseley Partners (“NMP”) is one of the largest and most experienced venture capital firms in the southeastern United States. Since its inception, NMP has created five limited partnership funds totaling approximately $580 million in capital and has invested in approximately 160 companies. In 2000, NMP announced the closing of NMP V, a $320 million venture capital fund, the largest ever in the Southeast. Our mission over the last twenty-three years remains the same: to partner with strong management teams to build companies of significant value. For more information, please visit www.noromoseley.com.
About Wakefield Group
Founded in 1988, Wakefield Group has provided growth capital to more than 40 companies, primarily in North Carolina. We manage more than $100 million of capital, operate offices in Charlotte and Research Triangle Park, NC, and are privately owned. For more information, please visit www.wakefieldgroup.com.