M.dot, a startup offering small businesses a way to manage their mobile presence, beginning with mobile websites, has launched. The company is backed by $700,000 in seed funding, having recently closed a seed investment round of $600,000 led by Floodgate. The round also saw participation from SV Angel, Sean Jacobsohn, a partner at Emergence Capital, and Harris Barton, the SF 49ers football star-turned-investor. TechCrunch co-founder Keith Teare's Archimedes Labs is also an investor in M.dot.
Based in Redwood City, and now a team of five, the company thinks of itself as more than just another mobile website creation service. Explains Dominik Balogh, who co-founded M.dot with Serbajlo Pavel, "M.dot is a first step in the segment towards helping small businesses be truly mobile, and manage their mobile presence from an actual mobile device wherever they are." Mobile website creation is just the beginning and the core of M.dot, he says.
Currently, the service allows business owners to use an iOS app to create their mobile site, choosing from a gallery of included templates to do so. Users can turn on or off the features they need like photo galleries, a blog, an "About" page and more. They can also tap to add new pages on the fly, and the interface makes it really simple to add key items like Store Hours, a logo, or social sharing buttons, for example. Everything about the app has been designed with a mobile-first mindset, and is optimized for a small screen.
But there are dozens of mobile website creation tools out there, is building a site via an app versus building one on the web really a big differentiator? Balogh insists it is. He says the company won't have to deal with legacy complications or compatibility issues, which offers them a technological advantage over the competition. Plus, many small business owners may just feel more comfortable using an app than an online service.
As for what's next, the startup will work on mobile promotion and third-party service integrations, creating distribution channels, and building apps for Android, iPad and possibly the web. For now, M.dot is free. Plans for monetization in the future will involve paying a yearly subscription for a package which includes a site on the M.dot domain and promotion on third-party services. However, details and pricing info regarding those plans are not available right now. You can download the M.dot app for free here in iTunes.