Mippin, the free mobile media service that monetizes RSS feeds for publishers on mobiles by making the consumer experience easier, has brought in Judy Gibbons as CEO. Now, this is interesting. Gibbons will still retain her role as a venture partner at technology investment firm Accel Partners. The move is great for Mippin. Gibbons has 25 years of technology experience at Microsoft, Apple Computer and Hewlett Packard and has twice been ranked as one of the top 20 most influential European business women by the Wall Street Journal Europe. She joins the two original Mippin founders – Scott Beaumont and Robin Jewsbury.
Mippin is also enhancing its service for the iPhone 3G with faster performance and user interface improvements. Mippin.com is pretty fast just about any mobile, and is kind’ve a mobile-enabled Favorit, in that it does a lot of hand-holding for the average consumer. They are now claiming to get 10 million page views a month across 146 countries using 1,300 different devices, and is tracking 20,000 RSS feeds – all formatted for any browser on any phone. It’s serving ads for from partners including AdMob and Screentonic (Microsoft) and recoks it is getting 3% click through with content contextual ads averaging 15%.
When your VC joins the company as CEO that’s got to mean they are pretty confident of your ability to execute. We reviewed Mippin when it launched.
I’ve had the odd cynical comment (on email and below) from some people who seem to think that because the backing VC has become the CEO, therefore the company is in trouble, needs a kick up the behind and here’s the VC come to in and clean house. Yeeharr!
Well, with respect, this is a rather simplistic view. A sort of 2+2=5 view. First of all, the behind the scenes word I hear from Accel is that they are “delighted” with the direction of the company and are happy Mippin/Gibbons are cracking on with things. Take that however you like, spin or not.
That’s not to say Refresh Mobile hasn’t made mistake. Mobizines was a disaster of an idea and never took off. What is true is that Accel have indeed put in bridging loans to help Refresh transition from Mobizines to Mippin. But I guess they wouldn’t have done this if they weren’t confident. Otherwise, why not just cut your losses, right?
The charge that Gibbons has no obvious mobile industry experience is rather off mark for her new role. For starters, Mippin has bags of experienced mobile people in it. That’s not what they lack. What they lack is someone like Gibbons, who, after years in the tech business, has an almost unrivalled professional network, who is able to pick up the phone and dial just about anybody at the highest levels. Believe, me, I’ve met her, and that’s exactly the sort of person she is. And that’s the kind of person any startup can use.