The third edition of Mobile Monday Stockholm took place this week with 10 demo pitches. Five of the pitching mobile startups were familiar faces from earlier this year, among them MoSync. The Swedish mobile startup delivers open source cross-platform mobile development tool suite, which in these currently app frenzy times sounds like music to the ears of all businesses, watching new app stores piling up on their front doors.
The rumor (SWE) of MoSync having term sheets ready for SEK50M (approx. €5M) broke later the same evening. The Swedish financial media had reported SEK50M plus a conditional term sheet for another SEK50M (not online), which would explain Mike Butcher on TechCrunch Europe to report €11M yesterday. I recollect Henrik von Schoultz, Co-founder and VP of Marketing and Sales of MoSync to have mentioned SEK50M at #MoMo, but then again, my rising fever might have played a trick on me. As of today, nobody’s confirming anything.
Regardless of whether the terms sheets read €5M or €11M, it’s great news to the Nordic startup ecosystem, giving it a welcoming boost. We’re not exactly spoiled with large investment sums on the Internet and mobile sector. And yet, two things puzzle me – the openness, and the timing.
Why Show Your Hand When Fundraising?
This just seems odd, taking into account that no one has confirmed or stepped forward regarding the deal. It certainly isn’t common to reveal your hand while still shopping, not at least publicly via TechCrunch. There’s nothing wrong with creating buzz, so if it’s not a simple case of miscommunication, Chris Dixon might be on to something. That would actually support my other concern.
publicizing it is a good way to get that term sheet pulled RT @TechCrunch MoSync Considers $18 million Term Sheet http://tcrn.ch/cc7bu1
The Irony Of Timing In Fundraising
MoSync, previously Mobile Sourcery, has been around since 2004. At that time the Internet business started to pick up again, and had entered the mobile devices, (yes, WAP was crap, but nonetheless an excuse). With non-existing mobile industry standards to develop upon, Sweden being a country with high mobile usage penetration, adding the obvious that the Internet wasn’t going away, one would think that it would’ve been pretty easy to pick up a growing demand. Instead, MoSync was bootstrapped having the team consulting on the side over the years, while incubated at Royal Institute of Technology. It took 5 years for investors in Sweden to hear the bell ringing.
Besides from the possibility of MoSync having bad timing falling in the middle of VCs fundraising period, this leaves me with but one reasonable explanation – venture capitalists in general don’t go where the action is, i.e. to developer conferences and hack days, listening to what developers have to say, thus miss to pick up new trails.
So, it’s only now when the demand is way too obvious, the Internet’s switching towards device independent technology standards like HTML5, and the competition is fierce from “make yourself” mobile apps to other cross-platform solutions, MoSync gets attention. Nokia just launched Ovi App Wizard service with support for ads, only days after Symbian released its new web application development tools for Symbian^3, suitable for “anyone who can create a webpage” as an easy alternative to Nokia owned framework Qt for those looking for a write-once, run on multiple platforms. And as we all have come to acknowledge, the App Store is a walled garden.
Given the competition, I too would be rushing to fill my pockets and creating a buzz if wanting to stay in the game. I sincerely hope the MoSync talented team to make a break, and with potential €11M it will stand strong to make any adjustments to the product to keep up with the rapidly changing environment.
Whether MoSync is in sync with its time is a cliffhanger – coming soon to an iPhone near you.
What’s your take?
Paula is Digital Product Advisor and Top 100 Women in Tech in Europe, focusing on Product, Go-to-market, and Internationalization strategies. She has to date mentored over 150 digital technology companies, and rated as one of the best startup mentors in Europe. Read more about her work and personal guidelines. Contact Paula to help you build better products and drive growth. “You never learn anything when you speak, only when you listen” – Roelof Botha / Douglas Leone, Sequoia Capital. Connect on Twitter, LinkedIn.