If you follow technology news or hang out on mobile tech blogs, you may have noticed today that a small start-up called Berggi (a Hubbub client) came out of stealth, vowing to bring mobile messaging to the masses (Eric Auchard at Reuters broke the story). At some point soon, there will be a blog on the Berggi site, which is under construction. For now, I will use this post to field questions about the company. Already, there are several:
--what's the service:
Berggi provides consumers with a simple, intuitive mobile messaging service -- email, text, IM -- that they can use over regular, commodity cell phones. Founded and led by some of Europe's top mobile messaging technologists -- Jorge Mata and Raul Lorenzo -- and serial entrepreneur Babur Ozen, the service and business plan were both designed in a way to overcome the barriers to mass-market adoption.
--what are those barriers?
In our opinion, there are at least three:
First, mobile messaging for the mass market needs to work over any phone, any service. That's the vision. The reality today is that Berggi operates on most commodity phones, over most services, with the exception of Verizon and Nextel in the U.S.
Second, the service has to be dead simple -- simple, clean and efficient. No bells and whistles.
Third -- and this is perhaps the biggest -- the service must be an easy purchase. There will be two ways for consumers to get Berggi. On Thanksgiving Day, they can go to www.berggi.com and get the service directly. An even easier way will come soon, when more consumer brands begin bundling and selling the service to their own customers. This white-label strategy shows a lot of promise for Berggi. In its first such deal, Berggi registered close to 100,000 users.
--if I buy the service directly, how much will it cost?
$9.99/month, and it will appear on your monthly phone bill.
--do I need to purchase a data plan from my carrier?
No -- you just need a data-activated phone (not a problem for most consumers)
Any other questions, please feel free to: (a) ask them here, (b) call me at 650-279-8415, or (c) email me at giovanni at hubbubpr dot com. I'll be on my Berggi.