Mobiya, a Belgian startup I briefly profiled last month, has just successfully closed a financing round. In total, a capital injection of a quarter million euro has been approved by an international group of private investors, among which a number of venture partners from Belgian and Dutch venture firms like Big Bang Ventures and Solid Ventures.

Mobiya is exploring the fields of ‘Next Generation Classified Advertising’, by which they basically mean they’re actively looking for innovative ways of bringing classifieds from the offline and online world to the mobile phone. The Mobiya Application Suite, launched in October 2006, offers any publisher the opportunity to integrate classifieds in their magazines, newspapers and/or websites, handle the content billing, formatting, distribution, etc. The system is patent-pending; an approval is expected within the following 6 months.

The company believes the explosion of mobile user generated content (text, image, audio, video, etc.) and the rise of mobile advertising are capable of disrupting the business model of traditional classified advertising (and estimated 100 billion dollar industry). The Mobile Classifieds industry is believed to grow into a 4.2 billion dollar industry by 2010. Below is Mobiya’s projection of the ‘Mobile 2.0’ roadmap, in comparison with the Web 2.0 (r)evolution. In my opinion, the projection is relatively cautious in terms of timing. I think we’ll be seeing a breakthrough in mobile payments and mobile social networks before 2010.

mobiya-projection.JPG

Mobiya’s go-to-market strategy is twofold: indirectly (mobile enablement of publishers’ classified content and activation of user generated content initiatives) and directly (by working with partners on large-scale projects to provide full outsourcing of existing or new classified business).

Mobiya is actively looking for media partners looking to create a full-scale classified gateway, and has already struck deals with national daily newspapers and classified advertising giants in both Belgium and the UK (where they have installed a sales office).

A working example can be found on Dolcevia.com (check the sidebar on the left) and Mobiya.be. Comparable international services are emerging in this growth market as well: examples include IQZone and TextAndSell.

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