$12.3 Million Second Round for Quattro Wireless

9/5/07Follow @wroush

As more content migrates to the mobile Web—websites customized for the smaller screens of cell phones and other mobile devices—all of the Web’s usual mechanisms for monetizing that content are also migrating, or being recreated. Waltham, MA, startup Quattro Wireless is one of the companies in this space, helping publishers create websites customized for mobile devices and matching advertisers with these sites. Now Quattro says it’s raised $12.3 million in second-round funding to build what it’s calling the GetMobile Exchange—a self-service ad placement marketplace that will, in essence, be the mobile-marketing equivalent of Google’s AdWords platform, which advertisers use to bid on online ad space linked to specific keywords or content.

So far, Quattro has limited itself to one-off mobile projects such as helping Spanish-language television network Univision launch Univision Movil, a mobile version of its website. By “transcoding” the content of Univision’s existing site for smaller screens, Quattro spared the network the effort of developing an entirely new content stream. The company matched Univision Movil with Ford Motor Company as its charter advertiser.

The new GetMobile Exchange will allow mobile content publishers and advertisers to find each other automatically. Just as with AdWords, advertisers will be able to bid against one another for ad placement, with the winning bidders paying more for each mobile user who clicks through to their own mobile websites.

The funding for the project comes from Globespan Capital Partners of Boston and Highland Capital Partners of Lexington. (Highland also provided Quattro’s $5.7 million Series A round.) Globespan executive managing director Andy Goldfarb said in the company’s announcement, “We are excited about the momentum that Quattro has built in such a short amount of time, as more and more brands achieve meaningful returns on their mobile investments and embrace the mobile channel as an integral part of their marketing mix.”

Of course, the meaning of “mobile” is itself evolving. While many media outlets are rushing to create slimmed-down versions of their content for tiny screens, Apple and other makers of mobile devices are working on improved screens and interfaces that allow users to view the classic Web more comfortably on devices other than PCs. The iPhone and the iPod Touch (the new phoneless, WiFi-only version of the iPhone, announced by Apple today) include technology for resizing screen images so that real estate isn’t at such a premium. It remains to be seen how such developments will affect prospects for the burgeoning mobile content industry.

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • Wade Roush

    After publishing this article I was able to speak with Eswar Priyadarshan, Quattro’s chief technology officer. Priyadarshan gave me more information about the GetMobile platform. In addition to helping advertisers place self-serve ads on mobile sites, the service will help publishers “mobilize” (“mobilify”?) their existing websites in a matter of minutes.

    Explains Priyadarshan: “We are probably completely insane to do this—but we are making it so that you can come up to our site, give us your URL, and we will make you a mobile equivalent in a matter of a few minutes by interacting with you. If your page has 23 sections on the PC maybe you want it to have seven sections on the mobile phone screen. We help you decided which sections to keep. Then you can send the site to your phone and try it for yourself.”

    If the service is as easy as Priyadarshan makes it sound, you can bet we’ll be trying it out at Xconomy. ;-)