Two L.A. startups have joined forces to take on the competitive mobile marketing industry.
Mobile payment company Payvia announced Monday it acquired text message marketing platform Mogreet. The companies did not disclose terms of the deal.
James Citron, Mogreet’s founder and chief executive, will become Payvia’s chief marketing officer. His 25-person team will join Payvia and likely relocate from their Venice office to Payvia’s headquarters at the Howard Hughes Center.
Payvia was founded last year as a payment tool for mobile phones and now claims to reach 120 million mobile users. People can use Payvia to purchase digital goods or services and have that charge added to their monthly cell phone carrier bill.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, Payvia signed Obama for America as a customer, allowing people to donate to the election via text message.
Mogreet, meanwhile, launched in 2006 to provide text message marketing for brands. It often works with entertainment companies to promote upcoming films.
Payvia Chief Executive Darcy Wedd said his firm had been looking to acquire a mobile marketing company to bolster the offerings it could provide clients. Payvia settled on Mogreet, he said, because it was local and has technology for sending rich media texts – messages with photos and videos.
“Over the past six to nine months, all our merchants needed a way to combine what they are doing with mobile payments and mobile marketing and engagement campaigns,” Wedd said. “We probably looked at three or four different messaging companies. It took us about three months to identify Mogreet as the leader.”
Mogreet, which has $14 million in funding and was one of the early companies mentored through LaunchpadLA, wasn’t looking to be acquired, Citron said. But he saw the benefit of combining marketing and payment technologies.
Now Payvia can market to consumers using Mogreet technology before asking them to spend money.
“We saw what Payvia was doing as a natural fit in the growth of mobile marketing and mobile commerce,” Citron said. “No one has been able to marry these technologies to build a truly scalable community.”