Disruptive Jingle

October 23rd, 2006 | Categories: financing, strategy

From time to time, a company launches that is aimed to destroy a current business model. This new business model and/or technology is therefore called ‘disruptive’. In many cases nowadays, many new disruptive models have been made possible because of the Internet.

E-mail disrupted the postal service industry, Skype disrupted the long-distance market, Napster disrupted the record industry, and the list goes on.

Just less than a year ago, a new company called Jingle Networks launched. Jingle runs a 1-800-FREE-411 logoservice called 1-800-FREE-411. As you may guess, it is a number people can call to use the 411 number lookup system for free. How do they make money? They tack on a fifteen second ad after you request a phone number - but before you are given the results. Traditional companies in the space charge an average of $1.25 per request, but Jingle plans on chewing away at the market with a free, ad-supported model.

Already they are seeing impressive results and numbers. The 411 market is estimated at $8 billion a year in the US alone. This provides a massive opportunity. Apparently consumers don’t mind the ads as Jingle reportedly claims 3% market share already (or 450,000 calls a day).

Today the company announced a fourth round of financing ($30 million) headed by Goldman Sachs and Hearst Corporation (kudos to TechCrunch for some of this info). Based on the present round, the company is valued to be around $150 million. Altogether the company has raised approximately $60 million to date.

Though the idea seems rather simple at first, the execution behind it has been nothing short of phenomenal, especially given the short time period. I hope Jingle continues to prosper and I always look forward to seeing more disruptive services bite away at existing, stagnant markets.

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