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Thumbplay secures $7.5 million investment

SoftBank executives join board of directors

Mobile content developer Thumbplay has completed its second round of funding, securing a USD 7.5 million investment from US venture capital group SoftBank Capital Technology.

According to Thumbplay, the funds will be used to expand its direct-to-consumer mobile content business, which includes content portal Thumbplay.com. SoftBank Capital executives Eric Hippeau and Craig Cooper will join Thumbplay's board of directors.

"We entertained offers from some top venture capital firms, but we quickly chose the SoftBank Capital team as an ideal investor for our company given their vast experience in the online and wireless content industries," said Are Traasdahl, founder and CEO of Thumbplay.

"In Europe, direct-to-consumer represents approximately 65 per cent of the overall mobile content market and we believe selling content directly to US consumers will become a multi billion dollar market over the next few years," Traasdahl continued.

"Our investment in the domestic direct-to-consumer mobile content market is clearly paying off: subscriptions are growing rapidly, and as distribution expands to include off-deck third party providers in addition to the proprietary carrier decks, the expansion of the mobile content market will accelerate."

Hippeau commented: "We saw the growth of the wired Internet content portal business in the mid-'90s, with Yahoo!, and now we're seeing the wireless content portal business growing through companies such as Thumbplay."

"The market for mobile content is exploding; we looked at virtually every player in this space and identified Thumbplay as the most attractive."

Thumbplay was founded in September 2004 and since then has developed relationships with a number of key content providers. Thumbplay.com, which launched in June of this year, brought "NameTones" to the US for the first time.

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