Earlier this month advertising giants WPP new investment arm WPP Ventures invested a total of around $4.4m in mobile and social blogging platform Muzy, along with angel investors Marc Andreessen and Ben Horowitz.
WPP has made a number of strategic investments into the digital market in recent years, with an emphasis on mobile and other emerging areas. Last year it was reported that the company took a stake in MySupermarket for $10m and acquired digital agency AKQA for a reported $550m.
WPP became interested in Muzy after meeting the site’s founders through a friend at Andreessen Horowitz, Tom Bedecarré of WPP Ventures told TechCrunch. Perhaps the interest was piqued due to Mozy’s status as a company that is involved with both social and mobile and has so far grown swiftly with “no marketing, promotion or distribution partners,” which is impressive stuff.
According to TechCrunch, Mozy currently has around 20 million users and adds a further 1 million each month, not bad for a site that doesn’t market itself very much.
What is Mozy?
Mozy is described as a “social blogging platform”, with content laid out in a Pinterest-style grid. The company was founded back in 2011 in San Francisco by Andrew Chen and Matt Rubens.
The site allows users to create and post a host of “creative stuff” such as photos, collages, drawings, animations and more using integrated apps. Users can also write about anything on Muzy to share with their friends, which are added in a similar way to other social networks such as Facebook.
According to Muzy’s site: “Your Muzy blog is your place for self-expression. Like other blogs, you can post your thoughts, pictures, and videos. But Muzy is more than that. Muzy lets you post and manipulate photos, draw and paint, make animations, illustrate your thoughts, caption webcam pics, and more.”
The apps are presented as “creative tools” that allow users to do more than just make posts. These can be shared to Facebook even before they are posted on Muzy, when they can then be sent to the customisable Mozy page.
It’s possible to follow people and of course, they can follow you back and you’ll then be able to see posts and comments made by friends on the home page. It’s also possible to click on a post and go to a detail page, which shows which app was used to make the post.
What Attracted WPP to the site?
If indeed WPP are concentrating their efforts on investing in mobile and other high-growth internet-based businesses, then it’s easy to see what has made Mozy a good proposition.
Not only is it mobile, but it has social and the capability to work with photos, video and more in order for people to get creative with what they share. The growth of Instagram and Vine flag this kind of app as one which has legs when it comes to getting ROI.
I suspect that WPP will have already looked at ways to monetise the site and app via advertising and brand sponsorship, through the pages and widgets that the site currently uses. Of course, there will also be room for improvement now that Muzy has the funding.
It’s thought that the extra cash will be used to boost the current staff, which is currently less than ten, as well as “build out the suite of creative publishing tools for the Muzy platform.”
“WPP clients are looking for access to the next new social platform, the next big mobile app,” Bedecarré told TechCrunch.
“I can’t wait to introduce Muzy to our clients and experiment with using their content publishing tools to create brand engagement. As an avid entrepreneur, I also want to help advise the Muzy founders on marketing and promoting their business, which has been operating in stealth mode to this date. I think we can significantly help them boost their growth and global distribution.”
Perhaps we will see Muzy soon become a real contender, overtaking Instagram or Vine?
Muzy is available through browsers and can be downloaded for Android and iOS for free.