Monday, July 28, 2008

Associated Press Invests in Mobile News Startup Verve Wireless

imageA rare strategic investment from Associated Press: it has invested in mobile news services start up Verve Wireless. The first round of $3 million included Associated Press, Iron Capital, and other investors in the Encinitas, CA-based company. Verve is headed by Art Howe, who received a Pulitzer prize while at the Philadelphia Inquirer and was also the former president of Village Voice Media...the firm's president is Tom Kenney, a former VC with BlueRun Ventures (former Nokia venture arm).

Its niche is helping newspapers become mobile, and developing local services around it. AP has been working with Verve: it is the publishing technology behind AP's recently announced Mobile News Network that will be the first product released by AP's Digital Cooperative, an initiative designed to find new digital outlets for the news and information produced by its members. Since May, 728 AP member newspapers have joined the network. Besides the AP, Verve is helping build about 4,000 mobile sites and working with more than 60 media companies, it says, including San Diego Tribune and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Verve had previously raised $2.5 million in a first round from angel investors, which closed in July of 2007.  Among its main competitor is NYC-based Crisp Wireless which has also been working with publishers, notably magazine and newspapers companies, in helping them develop mobile services.

More details on the company in this NYT story.

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