Funding: The company has raised a total of $6 million in venture funding from the Grosvenor Funds, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Draper Atlantic.
Who's in charge: Leon Yohai, founder and chairman; Sean Mallon, president and chief operating officer; George Lipordezis, vice president of engineering; and Predrag Djokic, chief technical officer.
Big idea: Qmobile provides entertainment services for mobile phones, including ringtones, wallpaper images and games through its commercial Web site, www.qtones.com. Rather than developing its own content, the company acquires the content from record labels and game developers and focuses on distributing it. "It's more of a marketing company than anything else," said Mallon. "We develop television ads, online campaigns and print ads targeted to our demographic, the 15- to 30-year-old group."
How it works: Users can download content from Qmobile through SMS messaging or over the Web. Qmobile then bills the user through his cell phone carrier and shares the revenue with carriers and content providers. "Big media companies give away tons of content over the Web," Mallon said. "We've partnered with them so they can sell it to mobile phone users."
Where the idea was hatched: Yohai founded a similar company in Greece. "The European market is far more advanced," said Mallon. "They started using SMS long before the U.S." After maximizing his company's market share in Europe, Mallon said, Yohai saw the U.S. market gravitating toward SMS and started Qmobile in 2003.
Customers: Qmobile has 350,000 subscribers.
Price: From $1.99 for a single download to $5.99 for a subscription plan for as many as six downloads per month.
Web site: www.qmobile.us
Partners: Cingular, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T Wireless
What the name means: "The company in Greece is called InternetQ," Mallon said. "When Leon came over here he wanted there to be some affiliation to the Greek company . . . so they settled on Qmobile."
Quote: "We're like the Coke stand at the end of the grocery store aisle," Mallon said. "People are watching TV at the end of the night and see an ad for Qtones and it's right there, it's an impulse buy."
-- Andrea Caumont