'Motricity was formed in 2004 by Ryan Wuerch after having merged with Pinpoint which was founded by Taylor Brockman and Jud Bowman, to provide integrated mobile content solutions for handheld and mobile devices. Originally formed as PowerByHand which then purchased and primarily based on PalmGear.com which was founded by Kenny West and J.D. Crouch - "PalmGear.com", the company changed its name to Motricity in October 2004 after its merger with Pinpoint Networks. The name Motricity is a portmanteau of the words mobile and electricity.Upon completion of reorganization, Motricity became a wholly owned subsidiary of Voltari, which replaces Motricity as a publicly held corporation. It is anticipated that, as of April 10, 2013, shares of Voltari Common Stock will commence trading on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol "VLTC." Wikipedia.
Motricity | Date: 2011-03-21
Techniques for bundle generation are described. Some embodiments include a mobile marketplace system (MMS) configured to provide dynamically generated content bundles to users in a mobile marketplace. Providing a dynamically generated content bundle may include generating a content bundle that includes multiple related content items, such as songs, ringtones, images, videos, or the like. Some embodiments generate linked bundles that include content items that share one or more attributes, such as artist, genre, or content provider. In other embodiments, content bundles may be generated based on activities of one or more users, including purchase or browsing history. The MMS may also determine a discounted price for a generated content bundle based on pricing information associated with the content items of the bundle. In addition, the MMS may assure compliance with license terms or other safeguards associated with content items.
News Article | January 19, 2012
More woe for beleagured mobile services company Motricity: the company today announced that it is restructuring operations, pulling back from investments in Asia and focusing on growth in North America in areas like mobile advertising and enterprise services. The news comes after a series of other developments that point to the challenging market conditions for Motricity, which it is weathering amid a lot of shareholder allegations around insider trading and other fiduciary violations. Some of these shareholders are now taking legal actions against the company. Four months ago, the company’s founder and CEO, Ryan Wuerch, left the company and got replaced by president and COO Jim Smith as interim CEO. In September 2011, Motricity secured a $20 million loan from High River LP, a firm controlled by Carl Icahn, and at the time said that it was exploring strategic alternatives for the business, including a possible sale. In its statement today, Motricity said that it planned to put more investment into developing its mobile advertising and enterprise businesses as it turned away from other parts of the business that were “no longer strategic or profitable.” It did not provide any detail of how big its Asian operations actually are. Its last quarterly earnings statement, Q3 2011 from November 2011, did not mention the region at all, and international carrier revenues were worth $3.6 million, compared to $19.6 million from North American carriers — although these could also include operations outside of Asia, such as the UK. Q3 2011 revenues, Motricity noted, fell below the company’s own guidance amid lower-than-expected international sales. Motricity has a large base of customers, ranging from mobile operators such as AT&T (NYSE: T), Verizon and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), as well as top brands like Kraft, American Express and Coca Cola, and offers a host of mobile data solutions, ranging from messaging services through to mobile marketing and advertising. Advertising in Q3 accounted for about $7 million in revenues, it said. We have reached out to Motricity to ask how today’s news impacts employee headcount, and whether the company had any more news regarding the hiring of a permanent replacement for Wuerch. We will update this post as we learn more. Update: A spokesperson for Motricity, via email, told paidContent that the company has made “substantial reductions to headcount” already. But as some of those people affected are still at the company, they are still included in the current headcount, which is between 320 and 350 full-time employees. “We expect that, as a result of the recently announced reductions and our continued review of our costs structure, that number may be lower by the end of Q1.” As for a permanent CEO, the board has called in executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry, and it is expected that a decision will be made in the next several months.
News Article | August 1, 2012
Updated 11:45 am with more on Motiga Who said summer was a time for taking vacation? Around the Seattle region, it appears, startup companies have been putting the finishing touches on some fundraising. Here are the highlights from a recent flurry of financing paperwork reported to the SEC from companies in the area: —Contour, the personal video-camera startup that helps action-sports enthusiasts capture their exploits in full HD glory, has filed paperwork for about $2.7 million in funding. It looks like debt and/or option financing, and the SEC form indicates the round could grow to nearly $5.7 million. I’ve reached out to Contour to get some more details on the fundraising, but haven’t heard back yet. Contour has strong ties to the University of Washington, having got an early boost from the school’s annual business plan competition. It now makes several lines of personal video cameras, including waterproof models and versions equipped with GPS tracking. —Adapx has added $3 million in financing and retired Army Gen. Peter Chiarelli to its board. Adapx (pronounced `adapts’) makes software and related systems that can capture physical note-taking digitally. So a field worker can take handwritten notes, mark up a chart, or sketch a new design, and then digitize those strokes by connecting the pen to a PC. The new funding is from existing investors OVP Venture Partners, Pelion Ventures, and Paladin Capital Group, and brings the total invested to $30 million, according to a news release. Adapx, based in Seattle, has strong military and intelligence ties: It started as a supplier of user interface technology to DARPA, and has counted In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s quasi-private research and development branch, as a previous investor. The company says 1,000 customers around the globe have used its flagship software, called Capturx. —Jawfish Games, a startup that plans to develop and power tournament-style social games, has raised $2.6 million from angels including Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund. Jawfish is led by CEO Phil Gordon, a technology entrepreneur and retired professional poker player. It doesn’t look like Jawfish is focusing on the online gambling aspect of casual and social games, but that arena is looking very promising for developers around the world—so keep an eye on this one. —Solavei, a Bellevue-based wireless startup, has raised $3.6 million. The startup takes an unusual approach to marketing wireless services: It pays customers back for signing other people up to contracts—what’s known as “multi-level marketing.” As Brier Dudley of The Seattle Times wrote, that makes Solavei “kind of like the Amway of wireless companies.” GeekWire’s John Cook notes that the company has attracted “intense discussion from critics and supporters alike.” (Just look at the comments on his post.) Solavei is led by CEO Ryan Wuerch, who was fired from the top job at Motricity last year. It operates on T-Mobile’s wireless network. —Motiga, a Bellevue-based video game startup, has filed paperwork for what looks like two different chunks of financing that add up to about $5.1 million. Co-founder and CEO Chris Chung says that’s the total amount the gaming company has raised to date (see this 2011 report from VentureBeat’s Dean Takahashi that said Motiga had raised nearly $2 million from angels and a corporate investor). “We raised the funds from a number of angels and a couple of online game companies out of South Korea: Neowiz and Smilegate,” Chung says via e-mail. Motiga is stocked with industry veterans, and had been trying out the double-barreled approach that some other game startups have embraced: Building both its own titles and a technology service or platform for other developers to use. But Chung also says there have been changes in focus. Earlier this year, the startup shifted away from publishing mobile games and decided to put its efforts into a seemingly old-school arena: PC online games. The company is now working on an unnamed PC online game “that will ship in a couple of years,” Chung says. “We concluded that the existing mobile platforms and ecosystems are not conducive for creating the type of online games we wanted to create,” he says.
News Article | March 16, 2015
Solavei, the Seattle area startup that employs multi-level marketing tactics to win customers for its mobile phone service, announced a plan to merge with Netherlands-based Aspider as it emerges from bankruptcy proceedings. Solavei arrived on the scene three years ago with a high-profile list of investors, celebrity endorsers and an ambitious business model that relied on customers to spread the word about the company’s cellular phone service, earning cash along the way. But the company — led by former Motricity CEO Ryan Weurch — stumbled last summer when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, listing liabilities in the range of $50 million to $100 million. As part of the merger, Wuerch will remain as CEO and Chairman of Solavei. Solavei said that it will operate normally, and that it will continue “to grow its social commerce network to fulfill its vision of positively impacting millions of people’s lives.” It boasts about 400,000 members, though just 35,000 have built networks large enough that qualify them for commissions, according to court records. “This partnership offers tremendous value to both companies,” said Wuerch in a release. “For Solavei, it will provide the opportunity to leverage ASPIDER direct connections with global mobile operators, and technology resources to enhance and expand mobile services for our members, and broaden Solavei’s reach to enable us to rapidly expand the Solavei brand around the world.” Last month, in the midst of the bankruptcy proceedings, the company welcomed Solavei Presidential Director Staci Wallace — Wuerch’s sister — into its “Solavei Mercedes Club.” You can watch the ceremony below in which Wuerch says the new Mercedes represents the “tens of thousands of people’s lives that have been positively impacted.” “Let every mile represent another 1,000 lives being impacted positively because of Solavei,” Wuerch said before handing over the keys to Wallace. Meanwhile, here is the bankruptcy trustee’s financial report on Solavei for February, showing total assets of $4.2 million and continued losses. And here’s more on how Solavei operates from the bankruptcy filings this week. The filing notes that many in the Solavei network have annual incomes of less than $45,000, making the company’s referral system “meaningful” income. The report also notes that T-Mobile — which provided the back-end network for Solavei — holds a $21.6 million prepetition claim tied to unpaid services. The bankruptcy filing notes how Solavei fell on tough times: Due to the unique and innovative social referral distribution model, the Debtor struggled with structuring the appropriate member commission model. The amount of commission payments owed to members for referrals and network building activities exceeded initial expectations. The Debtor had initially targeted and agreed to pay 50 percent of its gross profit to members in the form of commissions. However, as members found ways to maximize their commissions in ways not anticipated under the commission plan, the company was actually paying some 83 percent or more of its gross profits to members. The Debtor substantially revised the commission plan in March 2013 and again in January 2014, to bring its overall payout closer to the sustainable 50 percent level. The combination of these issues stressed the company’s working capital and liquidity as it worked to recover from initial vendor costs and member commission structures that proved unsustainably high. As a result of this stress on working capital and liquidity, the company found it necessary to file its Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the intention of restructuring its existing liabilities and growing its business.
News Article | December 19, 2012
Facing a delisting notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market, struggling mobile software company Motricity is currently weighing a reorganization plan in which it would become a wholly owned subsidiary of a newly-formed Delaware corporation by the name of Mobile Systems Corp. In a SEC filing today, Motricity said that it received a delisting notice from the Nasdaq on December 13th which indicated that it would be removed from the stock exchange on December 24th if it did not file an appeal before 1 p.m. tomorrow. The company said it plans to request a hearing to regain compliance with the Nasdaq standards, and as part of that plan it will propose a reverse stock split. Motricity’s stock is currently trading at 65 cents. It has fallen 27 percent so far this year. The company, which has seen a number of layoffs an executive departures in the past year, including last month’s departure of CEO Jim Smith and last year’s departure of co-founder and CEO Ryan Wuerch last year, plans to seek approval for the reorganization plan at its annual shareholder’s meeting on January 29th. The consolidated assets and liabilities of Mobile Systems Corp. immediately after the merger would be the same as the consolidated assets and liabilities of Motricity immediately prior to the merger. The sole purpose of the Reorganization is to protect the long-term value to the Company of its substantial net operating loss carryforwards against limitations that could be imposed as a result of certain “ownership changes” as specified under the Internal Revenue Code, which will be accomplished by imposing certain restrictions on the transfer of the common stock of Mobile Systems Corp.
News Article | August 17, 2012
Perhaps no startup in the Seattle area has driven as much discussion and debate in recent weeks as Solavei, a young upstart that plans to begin offering a new $49 per wireless service next month in which users earn cash for signing up friends, family members and co-workers. The public debut of Solavei’s multilevel marketing offering is still a few weeks away, now slated for September 21. But the company’s appetite for investment dollars does not appear to be slowing down. In a SEC filing today, the company — led by former former Congressman Rick White and former Motricity CEO Ryan Wuerch — indicated that it has raised $6 million. It’s part of an ongoing series B round which we covered last month, with total funding in the company no coming in at more than $10 million. Investors in the company include Jonathan Miller, the chief digital officer at News Corp. and former CEO of AOL; David Limp, vice president of Kindle at Amazon.com; and Gary Adams, an oil & gas executive from Oklahoma. Despite those big names, not everyone is a believer in the concept with some equating it to a pyramid scheme. In an interview with GeekWire last month White said that Solavei plans to follow the rules associated with multilevel marketing companies. “You’ve got a new era coming here where the whole phenomenon of social networking is making the idea of people-to-people marketing a lot different, and a lot more exciting than it used to be,” said White, who is leading legal and policy for Solavei. “If you are a multilevel marketer, there are some rules you have to follow and … we will follow all of those rules that apply to us. We really think we are doing something just a little different. We are trying to take a new era of social networking, and all of the tools we have available, and try to figure out a way to monetize that for consumers, not just the company.” Solavei employs about 140 full-time employees and contractors, and it has already lined up thousands of associates who’ve agreed to test and market the new service once it goes live. In fact, according to a message on the company’s Web site, more than 30,000 people have pre-registered for Solavei membership. “The response has been incredible,” according to the message, which is used to promote an August 22nd online presentation that they’re already dubbing “the world’s largest webinar.” Previous GeekWire story and discussion: Solavei raises $3.6M, touts $49 per month mobile service that rewards you with cash for signing on others
News Article | July 26, 2012
Multi-level marketing companies have gained popularity (and notoriety) in industries as diverse as cosmetics, vitamins and cleaning products. Now, a new Seattle startup called Solavei, led by former Former Congressman Rick White and former Motricity CEO Ryan Wuerch, is looking to bring the concept to cell phone plans. We first covered Solavei in February when we stumbled across the company, a story that has driven intense discussion from critics and supporters alike. Today, Solavei is taking wraps off the offering, saying that it plans to launch a $49 per month wireless service in September that rides on the backbone of T-Mobile’s nationwide 4G network. In addition, the company confirmed in an interview with GeekWire that it has raised an additional $3.6 million in funding from notable investors that include Jonathan Miller, the chief digital officer at News Corp. and former CEO of AOL; David Limp, vice president of Kindle at Amazon.com; and Gary Adams, an oil & gas executive from Oklahoma. Total funding in Solavei now stands at $7.7 million, with plans to raise up to another $7 million. White, who represented Washington’s 1st Congressional District before going on to serve as CEO of the technology lobbying group Technet, said that the new money will be used to fund operations and launch with a “bang” in the coming weeks. Solavei already has 140 full-time employees and contractors, not to mention about 2,000 associates who’ve agreed to test and market the new service once it goes live. There are a lot of companies already offering wireless service on the backs of other networks. But White said the “genius” of Solavei is the marketing arm, which allows customers to earn $20 per month on every three mobile-service members that they or someone in their personal network adds to Solavei. The company dubs this a “Trio,” promising that those at the higher end of the network (with 2,000 “Trios”) could earn as much as $20,000 per month. White scoffed at those critics who’ve labeled Solavei a pyramid scheme, saying that the company plans to follow the rules associated with multilevel marketing companies. “You’ve got a new era coming here where the whole phenomenon of social networking is making the idea of people-to-people marketing a lot different, and a lot more exciting than it used to be,” said White, who is leading legal and policy for Solavei. “If you are a multilevel marketer, there are some rules you have to follow and … we will follow all of those rules that apply to us. We really think we are doing something just a little different. We are trying to take a new era of social networking, and all of the tools we have available, and try to figure out a way to monetize that for consumers, not just the company.” White said the reaction to Solavei has been enormously positive, adding that they are “hitting a demographic who really can take advantage of this.” For most people, he said adding a few hundreds dollars per month in recurring revenue can change lives. “Most Americans, that’s a big deal. It helps them buy a car, so the kind of response we’ve gotten has overwhelmed us,” he said. “We thought we’d be a little bit more in stealth mode than we are able to be right now because we’ve had such good response to it. It just seems like we are in a niche of a market to whom this makes sense.” The company’s marketing materials indicate that its goal is to “create millions of thousandaires.” White said that about 10,000 people have expressed interest in signing up for Solavei, with about 2,000 people testing the phones right now. “We’ve got a lot of very energetic people, people talking about it more than we thought they would be doing these days,” he said. Solavei plans to sell HTC phones at cost to customers, but individual also will be able to port some existing GSM-based phones to the new service. Solavei is led by Ryan Wuerch, who stepped down as CEO of Bellevue-based Motricity last year after results disappointed Wall Street. In a release today, Wuerch said that Solavei is a transformational company. “We are going to make a difference in people’s lives by shifting billions of dollars from traditional mass-media advertising into the greatest advertising vehicle today – people,” Wuerch said. “Solavei is the first company to create an economic linkage between mobile service, social commerce and social-networking technology.
News Article | October 9, 2013
It’s been just one year since Solavei emerged on the scene with a referral-based marketing approach for selling cellular service, tapping into its users to help spread the word on the $49 per month plans. And now we’re getting a glimpse into the success that the controversial and heavily-funded company — led by former Motricity CEO Ryan Wuerch and backed by the likes of former AOL CEO Jonathan Miller, Amazon Kindle VP David Limp and others— has achieved in the past 12 months. The company, which piggybacks on the T-Mobile network and allows users to earn free cellular service plans by signing up friends, co-workers and family members, said that it has attracted 250,000 members since its launch last September. It is also on a annualized revenue run rate of $67 million, based on revenue figures from Sept. 2013. Today, the company is launching a new program in partnership with First Data to build on that momentum, a new marketplace for products and services beyond cellular service. Earlier this year, Fierce Wireless reported that Solavei was looking to top $100 million in revenue in its first calendar year, so the $67 million run rate indicates that it is a bit behind those goals. Still, a $67 million run rate for a company that’s been operating for 12 months is nothing to sneeze at. (By comparison, Zulily, which just filed to go public, posted revenue of $18.3 million in its first year). (Editor’s note: This post has been adjusted to better reflect the time period of the revenue run rate). The new Marketplace program is being launched in partnership with First Data, marking a new way for Solavei members to market everything from high-speed Internet to cable plans to financial services to household goods. In each case, there will be a referral compensation model attached, a concept which has drawn the ire of some who negatively view business models in which members are rewarded for signing up acquaintances. “The explosive growth in our member base in our first 12 months validates our business premise and belief that social commerce will redefine distribution in the coming years,” said Wuerch, founder and CEO of Solavei. “We’re making people’s everyday purchases more affordable by shifting the large advertising dollars usually spent by brands to our members —directly rewarding them for sharing the value of Solavei with their friends and family.” Solavei has signed up 16,000 merchants, including Target, Old Navy, Subway and Starbucks, for the new marketplace program, with members able to use a Solavei card to purchase items at a discount. Furthermore, money is directly deposited on the Solavei card when members refer friends to a specific service or product, with those members then able to use the cards at ATMs and to make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted. Solavei members already have the cards, and have been receiving compensation when they use them. The marketplace is a bold step by the company — which has raised $25 million in funding — to expand beyond its cellular service offering. Here’s an overview of new marketplace.
News Article | December 24, 2012
Motricity lost more than one third of its value today, following news that AT&T was terminating an agreement with the Bellevue-based mobile software company. AT&T’s portal agreement, which is being terminated, accounted for 42 percent of Motricity’s revenue during the first nine months of 2012. Motricity powered AT&T’s MediaNet and ATT.net offerings as part of the portal agreement. It will continue to host AT&T’s AppCenter storefront. Motricity already was performing poorly. It received a delisting notice from Nasdaq on December 13th which indicated that it would be removed from the stock exchange on today if it did not file an appeal. Shares of Motricity are trading at about 43 cents, down 34 percent. The company now has a value of $22 million. The company has seen a number of layoffs and executive departures in the past year, including last month’s departure of CEO Jim Smith and last year’s departure of co-founder and CEO Ryan Wuerch. It plans to seek approval for a reorganization plan in which it would become a wholly owned subsidiary of a newly-formed Delaware corporation by the name of Mobile Systems Corp. at its annual shareholder’s meeting on January 29th
News Article | March 9, 2012
Here is a roundup of some of the latest executive-level hirings and exits in the world of digital media business… — TubeMogul: Paul Joachim is joining as chief revenue officer, leaving his post as SVP at Vibrant Media. He first started out in the tech industry as an engineer, then in IBM “Big Blue” sales and more recently as an investment banker. — Vibrant Media: Meanwhile, Sheila Buckley joins the Vibrant team as chief revenue officer. A sales veteran who has worked at Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), Buckley most recently was SVP of digital, mobile and cross-platform ad sales at The Weather Channel. — RTP Ventures: Two hires were officially announced this week, reports Betabeat. Battery Ventures alum Murat Bicer is managing director in Boston, and Omidyar Network alum Jalak Jobanputra is managing director in New York. The company also revealed the size of it’s U.S. fund — $120 million. — Joule: Daniel Rosen has joined WPP mobile agency Joule as CEO of its Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) division, reports MediaPost. Most recently, he led AKQA’s mobile practice. In January, Joule hired Jonathan Tom, previously group marketing manager for Microsoft’s mobile advertising business, as VP of media for EMEA. It also opened a Paris office under former Motricity executive Ludovic Chayrigues. — Adara Media: The company continues its hiring spree two months after having closed its $12.4 million funding round. James Bohannon joins as VP of engineering and Tobi Wessels is now director of business development. Greg Weber also joins from YuMe as director of sales, midwest. Bohannon previously held the same title at SmartZip, while Wessels was the CFO Autonomous Vehicles and Special Projects for Google. — Think Realtime: The ad solutions provider has hired Chris Smith as its SVP of sales and marketing. Smith was previously president of VIBE Lifestyle Network. In 2005, he founded Blackrock Digital and later sold it to Intermedia Partners and the VIBE Lifestyle Network.