Editor’s note – Nov. 7, 2008 –
ZenZui changed its name to Zumobi in November 2007.
REDMOND, Wash. — March 26, 2007 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the launch of ZenZui, an independent company with the mission of transforming the way people engage, consume and interact with Web content through a revolutionary mobile user experience and information ecosystem. ZenZui’s Zooming User Interface, a technology patented by Microsoft, was initially developed by the Microsoft Research lab in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft’s IP Ventures helps startups and growing companies speed their time to market through access to Microsoft innovations. ZenZui worked with IP Ventures to acquire the technology and assistance in securing venture capital funding to help launch its company.
“ZenZui is a perfect example of how entrepreneurs are capturing the value of licensed Microsoft® intellectual property and generating valuable business opportunities,” said Dan’l Lewin, corporate vice president of Strategic and Emerging Business Development at Microsoft. “Our IP Ventures program opens the door for businesses of all sizes to access the work of world-class research teams, then use that access and innovation to rapidly bring new products to market.”
ZenZui’s core technology brings advanced information visualization techniques out of the research lab and onto mobile phones and into the hands of mobile device operators, marketers and consumers. ZenZui’s high-frame rate Zooming User Interface employs up to 36 individual “tiles” that are selected and customized by users to reflect their interests and lifestyle with relevant content, interactive communications and fresh data. From the connected communities of social networks and the immediacy of pop culture to the have-to-know sports and weather info, this modular tile interface lets users sync, surf, and share digital content quickly, easily and in a distinctly new way.
“This innovative technology developed with the help of Microsoft Research has provided a strong foundation from which ZenZui has developed a unique user experience,” said Eric Hertz, chief executive officer of ZenZui. “ZenZui’s compelling platform is already creating excitement among carriers, content providers, interactive agencies and major marketers.”
Companies onboard for the initial trial include Kayak.com, OTOlabs, Avenue A | Razorfish and Traffic.com Inc. Representatives’ comments include the following:
“OTOlabs develops and deploys products that put our clients’ brands, like Fox Family Guy, where today’s audience lives. ZenZui provides a powerful and unique platform to accomplish that in the mobile space,” said Chris Heitmann, executive vice president and general manager for OTOlabs.
Avenue A | Razorfish has brought three of its clients to the alpha phase. “ZenZui’s platform is perhaps the first mobile interface to truly leverage unique aspects of mobile devices,” said Bruce Woolsey, vice president of Advanced Media Solutions. “And it’s all wrapped up in a gorgeous interface that’s completely intuitive to use. This kind of solution has been sorely missing from the mobile marketing world. We look forward to continuing to experiment with the technology and developing smart, effective ways for our clients to leverage it.”
“We are excited about the combination of ZenZui technology and our nationwide real-time traffic services to provide another mobile delivery channel for our content,” said Christopher Rothey, chief operating officer of Traffic.com. “Commuters demand the immediacy of on-the-go traffic content personalized for the roads they drive every day. This hyper-localized content platform allows us to engage our users multiple times per day, and the rich visual capabilities offered by ZenZui enhance users’ dynamic interaction with the traffic news crucial to their daily lives.”
Innovative Program Connects VCs and Entrepreneurs With Microsoft Innovation
Microsoft launched the dynamic IP Ventures program in May 2005 to expedite the commercialization of new innovations developed through the company’s significant R&D investment. The program is available globally and is frequently updated with new technology offerings. Companies taking advantage of the IP Ventures opportunities include Wallop Inc., Inrix Inc., SoftEdge Systems LLC, Vimio PLC, Skinkers, Enterprise Ireland, EON Reality Inc., Comtech Group Inc. and Hunan Talkweb Information System Co. Ltd. (Talkweb).
ZenZui has closed a Series-A financing round of $12 million from Oak Investment Partners and Hunt Ventures. Wireless entrepreneur Tom Huseby of SeaPoint Ventures acts as chairman of the board. Leading ZenZui as CEO is Eric Hertz, who brings 22 years of international wireless experience to the venture.
ZenZui is reshaping the way people interact with and use their mobile devices by marrying the power of the Internet with the personalization of the mobile phone. ZenZui tiles transform the handset and give users the power to acquire information, conduct transactions and share experiences quickly and easily. More information on ZenZui is available at http://www.zumobi.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.