November 16, 2011

Sequoia Capital Invests In Voice Mail Service, Bubbly

Sequoia is going unconventional - after cheese sandwiches and wraps, Sequoia Capital invests in voice mail service, Bubbly.

Bubbly has “modernized” voice mail by calling it “voice tweets” – presumably a marriage of voice mail and twitter.

  • You record a voice mail
  • The voice mail link gets forwarded to others via SMS
  • When the link is clicked, the voice mail gets played
All of the steps can be done on low-end phones, no smartphone needed.

The company has the requisite buzzwords for its carrier partners. 
Declining revenue per subscriber (ARPU) is a reality for many operators in fiercely competitive markets (who isn’t?), and hence the importance of value added services (VAS) revenue for telecom operators. By offering features that drive phone usage (text and voice), operators are able to use Bubble Motion to drive new sources of revenues, while leveraging existing infrastructure investements that would be otherwise untapped.
In an era of smartphones, when no one listens to voice mail anymore, Bubbly will have a hard time picking up usage. It may find some curious users in countries where the carriers do not provide voice mail services, such as India and countries where smartphones are too pricey for most users.

Bubbly is an idea that would have been great 10 years ago.