Zvents Secures $24 Million in Funding From Nokia Growth Partners, AT&Amp;T &Amp; NAVTEQ
Zvents, the local search engine and paid listings ad network, today announced that it has secured $24 million in funding. New strategic investors include Nokia Growth Partners, the growth capital arm of Nokia (NYSE: NOK), the world’s leading mobile phone supplier; NAVTEQ, the world leader in premium-quality digital map data; and AT&T (NYSE: T), the largest U.S. wireless company which, through its YELLOWPAGES.COM subsidiary, is also the leading U.S. internet yellow pages search directory. The company’s existing investors, Vantage Point Venture Partners and Red Rock Ventures, also participated in the financing.
Zvents will use the proceeds to expand the reach of its local listings advertising network, which enables both local businesses and national chains to promote their locations with search-targeted events such as sales and weekly specials. Zvents will also further invest in expanding the deployment of its successful local search platform, which currently powers a network of more than 250 media partners.
“We are delighted to have led this round of funding for Zvents, enabling them to bring their world-class local search service to the converged worlds of internet and mobility,” said John Gardner, managing partner of Nokia Growth Partners. “We believe that the combination of next-generation mobile devices and powerful server-side search services will be a powerful channel to deliver local information to consumers. Zvents has found an innovative way to connect local search to the marketing needs of local merchants, offering a compelling means of driving exciting, context-based mobile experiences.”
Since its founding in 2005, Zvents has built a broad network of more than 250 media, advertising, and mobile partners including: Viacom’s (NYSE: VIA.B) mtvU, Microsoft’s (NYSE: MSFT) MSN CityGuides, AT&T’s YELLOWPAGES.COM, and hundreds of local media and newspaper sites owned by major local media firms including MediaNews Group, Freedom Communications, The McClatchy Company, and The New York Times Company. Zvents is continually growing its network of distribution partners both within the United States and internationally.
Zvents powers a unified international search index for the partner network, on which local consumers everywhere can perform “what, when, and where” searches for millions of events, businesses, performers, and other activities in their areas. This unique search technology platform aggregates data via web crawling and extraction, user- and merchant-generated content, and dozens of data partnerships; and provides localized search relevance and ranking to individual media partners.
Through its search service, Zvents creates for local businesses the opportunity to promote their locations online in ways that match their established media buying patterns. Events motivate consumers to engage with local businesses — a fact that local advertisers have utilized in print promotions for decades. The Zvents network is an enormous online distribution channel by which merchants can distribute these proven, effective marketing messages to engage local consumers. The Zvents network supports a paid listings model which enables merchant self-service, multiple local sales forces, and agencies to quickly and easily sell and syndicate local event and business listings.
“Zvents has spent four years building a world-class local search service,” said Ethan Stock, Zvents CEO and founder. “This funding will enable us to dramatically scale the value of that service to our network of media partners, local consumers, and local advertisers.”
Zvents is a local search engine powering a network of hundreds of web and mobile partners, featuring event listings to promote local businesses. Zvents provides a compelling user experience, enabling consumers to search, discover, share and review local businesses, including entertainment, sports, sales and weekly retail specials, restaurants, events, and performers. The company aggregates detailed business and event information from the open web, user-contributed content, and 3rd party event sources; and links high-quality partner editorial content with its search index. Local retailers, venues, and service providers can submit both free and paid listings into its network, providing them with a highly targeted and dynamic marketing and promotion channel to local consumers. Founded in 2005, Zvents is backed by AT&T, NAVTEQ, NetService Ventures Group, Nokia Growth Partners, Red Rock Ventures, and Vantage Point Venture Partners. Privately held, the company is based in San Mateo, CA. For more information, visit www.Zvents.com.
About Nokia Growth Partners
Nokia Growth Partners is the premier venture investor focused on growth stage companies in the mobile industry. With $350M under management for direct as well as fund of fund investments, Nokia Growth Partners invests in companies, funds and people that are changing the face of mobility, communications and the internet. Nokia Growth Partners is a value added investor working closely with company management and Nokia, its sole limited partner, to provide a superior return on investment while increasing the likelihood and magnitude of success in the companies in which it invests. Nokia Growth Partners has offices in Silicon Valley, Finland, China and India.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates, AT&T operating companies, are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. Among their offerings are the world’s most advanced IP-based business communications services and the nation’s leading wireless, high speed Internet access and voice services. In domestic markets, AT&T is known for the directory publishing and advertising sales leadership of its Yellow Pages and YELLOWPAGES.COM organizations, and the AT&T brand is licensed to innovators in such fields as communications equipment. As part of its three-screen integration strategy, AT&T is expanding its TV entertainment offerings. In 2008, AT&T again ranked No. 1 on Fortune magazine’s World’s Most Admired Telecommunications Company list and No. 1 on America’s Most Admired Telecommunications Company list. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and the products and services provided by AT&T subsidiaries and affiliates is available at www.att.com.
About VantagePoint Venture Partners
VantagePoint Venture Partners builds leaders in 21st century technologies. With more than $4.0 billion of committed capital, the Firm invests globally in entrepreneurial companies at all stages of development in CleanTech, Healthcare, and Information Technology. VantagePoint partners with talented entrepreneurs who are seeking to build companies that are world-scale in both size and substance. The Firm has created a network of thought leaders and strategic partners with some of the world’s leading corporations to provide portfolio companies with a unique advantage to accelerate growth. For more information, visit www.vpvp.com.
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