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InphoMatch platform expands company's play in content biz

Text messaging interoperability company InphoMatch announced plans to expand into the wireless content market with its new InphoMatch Interactive (Imi) platform, which the company said takes the headache out of distributing wireless applications.

“We’re not trying to sell a platform, we’re trying to sell a service,” said Neville Street, the company’s president and chief executive officer. “We come at it from a very strong experience base.”

Street said InphoMatch’s interoperability business gives it a solid position to play in the content distribution space. Indeed, the company will have plenty of competitors as it looks to score in the market, with Mobliss Inc., mBlox Inc., Telenor Mobile Interactive USA, M-Qube Inc. and a variety of other companies offering similar services and technologies. Indeed, InphoMatch’s main interoperability rival, MobileSpring Inc., merged with content company Ztango Inc. to expand its business offerings. Street argued that InphoMatch’s direct carrier connections and its high-volume text-messaging business will give it a leg up with content providers looking to sell wireless applications.

InphoMatch’s new Imi platform supports Java games, text messages, ring tones, screen savers, picture messaging and other types of content. It manages the delivery of content to a range of phone models, and supports TV voting, polling and interactive marketing campaigns. InphoMatch teamed with billing company Qpass Inc. to connect to carriers’ charging services.

And, Street said, InphoMatch will have a major war chest for its new endeavor. The company said it raised $13.5 million in its latest round of funding, which was led by Institutional Venture Partners. That, combined with the company’s additional sources of cash, will bring its total cash on hand to $20 million. Street said InphoMatch has been cash-flow positive for more than a year.

InphoMatch manages text-messaging interoperability services for Verizon Wireless, AT&T Wireless Services Inc. and a variety of other carriers. Indeed, the company said it now transmits more than 1 billion messages a month. InphoMatch in September launched a multimedia messaging interoperability service, which would allow CDMA subscribers to send picture messages to GSM users. Street said the company is testing the product with several major U.S. carriers, and he expected commercial launches as soon as this summer.

“There are lots of opportunities,” Street said.

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