Back in 1999, we started an initiative at Flatiron called “Pervasive Computing”. We wanted to invest $50mm into companies that were taking advantage of the mobile Internet.
It was not one of our most successful efforts. We were too early for one. We made some bad bets for two. And the market blew up a year later which sealed its fate.
Only a couple of those bets made it to today. They are Portal Player and Vindigo.
Vindigo is really a story about survival. When we invested in April of 2000, they had a market leading location-based application for the Palm. Everyone used it. It was on the strength of that application that we invested. But the Vindigo application never produced a lot of revenue, even after it went subscription a year later.
But the management team didn’t quit. They moved into applications for mobile phones. They made a big bet that paid off on the Brew platorm. They build a business in the mobile Internet market. And they survived when most of their competitors failed.
Last week we announced that Vindigo was sold to a Japanese wireless company called For-Side for a very nice amount of money. Rafat Ali has a nice post on the story.
It wasn’t a home run deal for us, but it was a very good one. And the best thing of all is that the entrepreneur and the management team made money on the deal. Considering what they went through to keep the company alive in 2001 and 2002, that’s a great outcome.
Congratulations to the Vindigo team.