SinglePoint Buys M2Junction, Wants to Become Mobile Advertising Leader in India

2/11/10Follow @gthuang

Bellevue, WA-based SinglePoint, a mobile messaging software company, announced today it has acquired M2Junction, a leading mobile advertising startup based in Hyderabad, India. Financial terms of the deal weren’t given. The move should make it easier for SinglePoint to connect with and sell its services to content publishers, mobile operators, brands, and ad agencies in India.

It looks like a significant step in SinglePoint’s global expansion strategy. India is one of the fastest growing text-messaging markets in the world, with some 525 million mobile subscribers as of December 2009. And in general, text messaging (SMS) is considered one of the most powerful channels for brands to reach new audiences and do mobile marketing. M2Junction, for its part, is already a SinglePoint partner, and a collaborator in terms of market positioning and knowledge of the Indian mobile ecosystem and culture.

Gowri Shankar, SinglePoint’s new CEO, noted in a statement that there is “an incredible mobile advertising opportunity” in India. “We at SinglePoint want to be a part of this growth and revolutionize the Indian industry with our offerings,” he said.

SinglePoint makes a Web-based software platform for handling transactions in contextual mobile advertising—delivering things like brand messages and interactive coupons within text messages. With its move into the Indian market, the company says it is looking to deliver more than a quarter of all the mobile advertising opportunities in India in its first year, and within two years, to become the nation’s biggest player in SMS advertising.

That sounds pretty ambitious, given what must be fierce competition among local companies in India. But in the past few years, SinglePoint has become a leader in helping publishers and brands reach mobile subscribers, and it has expertise in the Indian market. The company, formerly called Wireless Services, was co-founded by former Microsoft and McCaw Cellular veteran Steve Wood in 1996. It has been backed by a slew of venture investors and private equity firms including Ignition Partners, Madrona Venture Group, SeaPoint Ventures, Intel Capital, Northwest Venture Associates, and Rally Capital.

Last week, SinglePoint announced that Swedish mobile giant Ericsson had bought its mobile aggregation business, and that Shankar has become chief executive. Shankar succeeds Rich Begert, who led the company from 2004 until this year and remains on the board.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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