Incoming Viximo CEO Sees a Burgeoning Economy of Virtual Goods

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10 to 20 credits; you can buy 15 credits in the store for $3.00, 100 credits for $10.00, or 225 credits for $20.00.

Viximo may be the only company that offers both a system for selling virtual goods and the goods themselves, which clients can either plug directly into their own virtual gift stores or customize at will. New York-based microtransaction startup LiveGamer, which acquired virtual goods currency specialist TwoFish last fall, is a competitor on the infrastructure side, and other companies such as VirtualGreats supply digital content. But while these parties solve specific pieces of the virtual goods puzzle, “Nobody provides one solution like Viximo,” says Brian Balfour, Viximo’s founder and vice president of marketing.

Strang comes to Viximo from 5to1.com, a San Francisco-based online advertising network, and spent 11 years before that in executive vice-president roles at IGN Entertainment, which runs a network of gaming sites, and Ziff Davis Media. He says his experience in the advertising and entertainment worlds will help him position Viximo to start producing real revenue.

“The company is now at the point where we are going to be putting our stuff in front of millions of people and generating significant usage,” Strang says. “The board was looking for someone who understands the consumer Internet and interactive entertainment and had some experience growing a business in those worlds. I’m here to start growing substantial revenue out of our network.”

Sledding Santa virtual gift from ViximoStrang argues that trends in interactive entertainment technology have often been the harbingers of changes coming to the general culture, and that he was attracted to Viximo because the virtual goods phenomenon may point the way toward big shifts in the way commerce will work online in the future.

“The interactive market is a leading indicator of how people are going to distribute, consume, engage with, and perceive content,” Strang says. “Just look at all the moving cameras in TV football broadcasts—that stuff all appeared in video games first. The old question on the Internet is how you get people to pay for anything. Virtual goods and microtransactions seem to hit the right point of perceived value and willingness to part with money. I just want to be part of that.”

Viximo has 20 employees and has raised $10 million in venture backing in two roughly equal chunks, including a Series B round last May led by North Bridge, with Sigma Partners also participating.

It’s one of at least three startups funded by North Bridge that have gone through CEO-level departures or replacements in the last year. The other two are Needham, MA-based Mobicious, creator of the SnapMyLife mobile photo sharing community, where Mass High Tech reported in September that former Playboy executive Edward Lang had taken over the CEO position from founder George Grey, and My Perfect Gig of Lexington, MA, where former CEO Blair Heavey left in 2009 and has not been replaced, according to the management page of the company’s website.

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

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