Show Us The Money

If you’ve been living under a stone recently, you may not have noticed that we’re in the midst of a financial crisis. A bank seems to go bust every day, doom abounds and it’s probably the worst time to try to raise capital via VCs since the dawn of history.

It’s particularly gratifying then to be associated with not one, but two, companies who have spat in the face of Ms Recession, tweaked the beard of Mr Gloom and announced pretty substantial investments in the last few days.

AdMob is the one stealing all the headlines today, with everyone covering it from the venerable New York Times and Wall Street Journal to the thrusting young upstarts at GigaOm and VentureBeat. A fine job by AdMob’s marketing team (Nicole and Jason especially) and PR agencies.

I don’t really have much to add, other than to say it’s an amazing achievement by a brilliant team of people from top to bottom. It’s particularly gratifying that Sequoia Capital, our original investors have chosen to lead the round again. This is very, very rare as they almost always stick to early stage investments and the times they have done this kind of thing can be counted on the fingers of one hand – of a man who lost two fingers in a fight with Mr Gloom. As Jim Goetz, a Sequoia partner and who sits on our Board, says:

“They have some of the same qualities that we saw in Google, Yahoo!, YouTube and Apple, including their exceptional team and powerful technology platform.”

Praise indeed.

The other announcement was made by the UK company, TagText, which I invested in a while back and who have just announced a GBP 1 million round.

I’ve long believed that kids (sadly, by that I mean anyone under 25) have wanted richer messaging. SMS is great, but limited. MMS is far too hard to use from a creative point of view. It’s like starting with a blank canvass, when what you want is to join up some dots. Plus MMS has limited possibilities when it comes to interaction with the PC.

TagText solves this problem by providing a easy-to-use template-driven avatar platform, which works across mobile, but also PC IM and in social networks.

Congrats to the management team, Nick Hancock and Ben Scott-Robinson, veterans on the UK mobile scene. I’m not sure the avatar above quite does justice to my distinguished features, but I can’t have everything. I’ll watch from afar and hope they prosper. I have high hopes.

Now, back to work at the day job….

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