Netscape founder Marc Andreessen is betting on smart mobile services with his venture capital firm's latest investment. Andreessen Horowitz, along with SV Angel and an investor group led by Jim Davidson, invested $15.5 million in Series B funding into ItsOn.
Founded by wireless and networking industry pioneers Greg Raleigh and Charles Giancarlo, ItsOn is introducing a new way to deliver, purchase and consume mobile services. Specifically, the Redwood City, Calif.-based startup is building direct-to-consumer services and cloud -based solutions to serve both mobile service and content providers.
ItsOn is garnering interest in the smartphone age, where explosive data growth is predicted for at least the next decade. With service plans and the underlying network technology still rooted in the voice-only era, ItsOn sees an opportunity to revolutionize the $1 trillion global mobile services market.
"As the feature phone goes by the wayside, a new level of personal connectivity is becoming central to our identity in the form of the smartphone. But mobile service plans are not keeping up," said Andreessen, co-founder and partner at Andreessen Horowitz.
"ItsOn addresses a universal problem that has never been solved. It is the ultimate usage-based model of the future. The company's cloud-based technology is the leap forward needed to unlock the next wave of growth and financial opportunity in mobile. We believe ItsOn is about to change this industry."
ItsOn's secret sauce, so to speak, is flexibility and real-time service customization features for both mobile operators and service providers. The idea is to enable businesses to provide services targeted to specific user demographics and device types with minimal development time or market risk.
Examples on the business-to-consumer side include a snack food maker's sponsorship of streaming for a sporting event, free social networking with voice services, sponsored news services, and sponsored online shopping with mobile service credits for loyalty shoppers.
Raleigh, chairman and CEO of ItsOn, said the company empowers consumers to choose exactly which mobile services they need and how much they want to spend -- eliminating overcharging and bill shock. (continued...)