Darren Herman just wrote about SayNow, a startup that raised $7.5M for their Series A. According to Darren, SayNow offers music fans the ‘ability to call a pre-determined phone number for their particular band of interest and hear a personalized message and hear a greeting from the band.’ Okay’
Techcrunch reviewed these guys positively in July, stating, ‘Sometimes simple systems work the best.’ Still, a $7.5M round is large for such a ‘simple’ model especially in comparison to another simple model named Twitter which had a sub $5M round (after already being relatively established).
So maybe, like Frengo who I reviewed earlier, SayNow has a killer team? Well, the CEO, Nikhyl Singhal, seems to have some startup experience but nothing that I see in entertainment biz dev which I would think imperative for getting good-name bands involved. Still the blog does list some such names as Alicia Keys, so they are doing something right.
My next question was: ‘who backed them?’ First is Shasta Ventures a VC who claims to have backed 18 successful companies, including LogoWorks and the troubled Flock. Second is TugBoat Ventures. TBV appears to be a one-man firm and scarily puts people first – to the extent that a company’s ability to produce cash isn’t even hinted at in the investment consideration requirements.
There is opportunity here, but not with the current business model. I would like to see something like the model for Bitwine allowing me to call my favorite celebrity, athlete or VC and pay money to talk to them. Well a celebrity doesn’t need more money, right? So why would they do this? They would connect to their fan base (like the current model) but also they could donate a percentage to charity and fans (knowing this) might be more likely to call. It would also allow for great integration with something like Project Agape that already allows people to support causes, but seems to be missing a good revenue model (see comments) and celebrity backing.
I wonder if they are talking to Nelly Furtado?